Journey Into Wholeness
What is grief?
Grief encompasses a broad range of feelings and behaviors that are common after a loss. We experience grief, not only after our loved one dies, but also when we are separated from important people in our lives through divorce or relocation. We grieve when our pets die, too. Grief is a normal reaction to a loss, something all of us will experience at some point in our lives.
What is anticipatory grief?
Anticipatory grief is a type of grieving that occurs prior to the actual loss. Many deaths occur with an advance warning, and it is during this period of anticipation that we begin to experience grief. This means that a grief process may begin even before our loved one dies. Also, a dying person may experience anticipatory grief.
What are the symptoms of grief?
Grief comes when we’re least prepared. Do you or someone you know have some of the symptoms below?
Misplace things constantly (i.e keep losing your keys)
Start to say something and forget what you were going to say
Have difficulty concentrating
Feel lonely even though you are with many people
Burst into tears with no apparent reason
Become upset when watching TV or a movie, when reading a newspaper or a book
Feel a sense of loss at Thanksgiving, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day or other holidays
Feeｌ a tremendous sense of void in your life
Feel shook-up when you see a photo of your loved one unexpectedly
Feel fine for a period of time and get depressed again for no apparent reason
Feel angry at your loved one whom you’ve lost, yourself, or your family
Feel as if your sense of values has changed
Feel surprised that others can’t see your pain
Feel saddened when you smell a familiar colognes, shaving cream, etc.
Feel saddened when you see a father and son, mother and daughter, siblings, etc. together
Feel saddened when you hear a certain song
Have difficulty sleeping
Dream of your loved one often
Don’t have an appetite
Get tired easily
Feel uninterested in doing things you used to do
Try to distract yourself by keeping busy
Find yourself explaining what happened to your loved one over and over
Have difficulty accepting that your loved one is really dead
As you can see from the list, grief symptoms differ depending on the person. Some people can’t stop crying after the death of a loved one, while others feel numb due to the shock. There is no right or wrong way to grieve. Each person has a different reaction to a loss, and that’s okay.
There is no shortcut to getting through grief. What we can do is to get through it one day at a time. To do so, we need to understand the symptoms of grief and to acknowledge that we are grieving. It’s also important to seek professional help whenever needed.
“There is always a light at the end of the tunnel.” Grief is a long and difficult journey, but eventually it’ll get better and you’ll find a light again.
Grief Counseling and Grief Therapy by J. William Worden