Thursday, March 27, 2008

Natural And Normal Grief Responses

If you are reading this and your grief is relatively new, I am very sorry for your loss. I remember that for me the first few months had a very unreal quality to them, like I was disconnected from the real world somehow, and I had no idea what I was in for. I wish I had seen this list posted on WidowNet:

This information has been provided by a hospice to help answer questions people have after losing a loved one.


  • Feeling emotionally numb.

  • Knowing that the death has occurred, but having difficulty believing that the death has really happened.

  • Feeling tightness in the throat or heaviness in the chest or in the pit of the stomach.

  • Having a loss of appetite or a desire to eat more than usual.

  • Having a desire to smoke, drink, or use drugs (especially tranquilizers) in a greater amount than before.

  • Feeling restless and looking for activity and finding it difficult to concentrate and complete tasks.

  • Having difficulty sleeping, waking early, and often dreaming of your loved one.

  • Being overly concerned with your health and even developing symptoms similar to those of your loved one.

  • Feeling exhausted and lacking in energy.

  • Feeling low at times of birthdays, holidays, and special occasions.

  • Spending money on things usually not purchased.

  • Feeling preoccupied with financial concerns.

  • Telling and retelling things about your loved one and the experience of his or her death.

  • Talking things over with the deceased person.

  • Feeling mood changes over the slightest things.

  • Feeling guilty for what was said or not said or for not having done enough for your loved one.

  • Being angry or irritated at the wrong person or the wrong circumstance or at the world.

  • Feeling intensely angry at your loved one for leaving you.

  • Having difficulty making decisions on your own.

  • Sensing your loved one's presence, believing you hear his/her voice or expecting him/her to come back.

  • Assuming mannerisms or traits of your loved ones.

  • Feeling as though life doesn't have any meaning.

  • Not wanting to be with people or having difficulty initiating contact with others.

  • Feeling self-pity and not feeling needed.

  • Crying at unexpected times.

These are natural and normal grief responses. Crying and expressing your feelings to others can be helpful. Living through the grief experience and then adjusting to a new life take time. The length of time needed is different for every person.

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