Grief is not a disorder, a disease, or a sign of weakness. It is an emotional, physical and spiritual necessity, the price you pay for love. The only cure for grief is to grieve.
The death of a loved one is a natural, but difficult, part of life. Even when a death is expected, it is a very traumatic and stressful. Grief and bereavement are very personal; no one grieves the same.
Grief is defined by how you feel inside about the death and your emotional response to a loss; for example, your thoughts, emotions and feelings. Your feelings may range from shock, disbelief, anger sadness, and a mixture of any number of these.
Mourning is how grief is expressed and is the beginning of the adaptation to life after a loss. This physical grief may cause trouble eating, sleeping, digestive troubles, pains, low energy levels and memory problems. There may be anxiety about the future, finances, a change in role, or a change in family structure.
Anger, blame, sadness and guilt also affect how we process a death. To some degree there may be a sentiment of relief, especially after a lengthy illness or condition, that there is no more suffering.
Gradually, these feelings ease; but for some, they don’t. Even with the passing of time, grief and pain are debilitating and some have trouble resuming their life. Symptoms of a more complicated grief may include intense sorrow, extreme focus on the death (or avoidance of the death altogether), detachment, bitterness about the death, feeling that life is without meaning, inability to maintain routines, isolation and withdrawal, guilt or self-blame about the death and wishing that you had died with the loved one. Know that there is a difference between grief and depression and look for help when your grief does not seem to evolve.
There is no “right” way to grieve. Because grief is very personal, accept the way you feel. Talk about your loved one; celebrate what made that person special and how he or she impacted your life. Keep yourself healthy: exercise, eat well and get an appropriate amount of sleep. Find creative outlets and maintain your existing routines. Accept help from others and know that it is okay to rely on your support system and those who have experienced a previous loss.
Grief Counseling: Center for Loss & Life Transition
Grief Counseling: Counseling for Loss & Life Changes