Common Grief Reactions

Grief is a natural response to loss. It can be felt in many ways. Grief’s impact can be emotional, social, spiritual, physical and financial. It is as individual as the person you loved and lost. Grieving while living away from family and friends can be especially difficult. This is a place where you can share your thoughts, and get ideas on how to cope. It is here for you to get support and validation.

Re: Common Grief Reactions

Postby dscowan » Thu Nov 29, 2012 7:35 pm

Hi Vicki -
Thank you for posting. It takes courage to share deep feelings and it sounds like you are trying many options to help you manage your pain. Feelings like guilt and forgiveness are personal. I was listening to a speaker this afternoon who said that the bereaved need to feel the pain of grief before they can begin to forgive and adjust to life without their loved one. I am not sure if that applies or makes sense to you, but it sounds like you are struggling. The glitz and glitter of the holidays also trigger grief reactions and symptoms. I saw your other post as well. You have lots of things to think through and many options on ways to approach the holidays. Know that you can always change your mind with whatever you decide to do this year and next year you can do start a new tradition or keep with same one. Because this is so difficult, I do encourage you to talk with your bereavement coordinator or other health professional to sort out these deep feelings. Best to you.
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Re: Common Grief Reactions

Postby doodle1 » Sun Dec 02, 2012 10:16 am

Good to hear from you Vickie,
I am so glad to hear that the group that you attended helped you. I have been contemplating joining a group too, but am not really sure that I can withstand hearing all the other sad stories. I am a very emotional person and I just imagine I will be sitting there crying through the whole session. I think I will wait until after these dreaded Holidays before I make that decision. I guess if I make it through the Holidays, then I might be able to handle a group session. I just made it 4 months, and this still feels so raw to me, as it still does you.

I am just like you with the journaling, I write to my husband most of the time. Not sure if that is what we are supposed to be doing in our journals, but most days, I do have something to tell him. Not sure how I made it through Thanksgiving, because that was also his birthday, but I did it. It wasn't easy by any stretch of the imagination. I went to the cemetery in the morning and then I did pretty good during the day, until the very end of the day, then it totally hit me very hard again. I imagine that is what the next couple of Holidays will be like. If I could afford it, I would go away until after the beginning of the year. But that is not an option for me, so I will stay put and try to get through them the best I can. I hope the same for you!!

Thanks for the advice on the groups, I may just try it like I said. Good luck to you during the Holidays!!!
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Re: Common Grief Reactions

Postby doodle1 » Tue Dec 11, 2012 5:36 pm

I am having such a hard time with the Holidays coming up. I have just passed the 4 month period. I have good days and bad. Today I felt the need to go to the cemetery. I usually go a couple times a week anyway, but it was a strong need to go. I spent some time there and came home. I decided to try to get a couple more decorations put up and then put the rest of the boxes in the garage. As I was going through one of the boxes I came across my husbands Christmas stocking. It caught me so off guard, I lost it and started crying so hard. I know we will have these triggers, as I have been told, but how do you handle them???? I am still so distraught over this. I just closed the boxes and moved them out of my way. I just need to get through the next 14 days and then through New Years Eve. OMG how will I ever do it?????
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Re: Common Grief Reactions

Postby andrearivagetz » Thu Oct 31, 2013 1:05 pm

The way our minds and bodies respond to grief can be surprising. Sometimes you feel that you are "going crazy" as you forgot what you walked into the kitchen for or lose your way to a familiar place. You may feel tired despite getting extra sleep and forget the words to finish your sentence. Remind yourself that this is grief speaking and that self care is essential to navigate through this time. Please use this discussion to describe symptoms you might have experienced that surprised you and ways you have learned to try to take care of yourself.
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Re: Common Grief Reactions

Postby m_postotnik » Wed Feb 05, 2014 4:20 pm

Grief reactions never completely leave. Over time, they don’t feel as intense, but they never totally disappear. Why? Because your loved one touched you very deeply. Losing that physical and emotional connection is difficult. Even after a long time, grief reactions can get triggered. Just the other day, seeing a friend lovingly care for her elderly mother who had just come out of the hospital brought tears to my eyes. I was reminded of being with my own mom who died 20 years ago this coming May.
It’s important to be very gentle with yourself regarding the grieving process. Treat yourself with kindness, instead of judging yourself about what and how you think you’re “supposed to” feel. Even though you no longer have a physical connection with your loved one, you can do things that honor them and help you still feel connected in your heart. Do something that you loved to do together. Meet with other people who have also had a loved one die and tell stories about your loved ones. Make art or write a poem about your loved one. Write a letter to them and burn it. Light a candle to remember them. Create a small space in your home where you keep special items that belonged to your loved one. You may even invent your own special way to remember them.
Your loved one will always live on in you because you have memories of time spent together. The most important thing to remember is that when you have grief reactions, allow yourself to experience them rather than trying to avoid them.
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Re: Common Grief Reactions

Postby lee1986 » Thu Mar 13, 2014 9:25 am

When we are grieving our loved one, is it possible to feel sad (tearful) and glad (smiling) at the same time? It was interesting that this question was asked to me, by two separate people this week.

They both reported that when they reminisce about their loved one, they can laugh and feel good about their relationship and life with them, but then they start crying because they are sad. Both reported that "it feels weird" to have both feelings happening at the same time.

Everyone has so many emotions within them when grieving, I do believe it is possible to have two opposite feelings happening at the same time.

Has anyone had this type of experience happen to them?
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Re: Common Grief Reactions

Postby kitkat5 » Tue Apr 08, 2014 10:04 am

Doing grief work somehow made me think when it happened to me I would be better prepared and would feel and react in the most mature of ways. And yet when my Dad died recently I was completely taken by surprise at my thoughts and feelings. Everything I know about doing grief work didn't make sense to me. I reacted as other grievers do but somehow expected that "I would cope very well and handle my feelings differently." The joke was on me. I am grieving, I am so sad, I cry and I walk around in a fog-the very things I warn clients about. So I have to take my own advice. Be kind and gentle and don't expect too much of myself right now. Do what I can and let the rest go. I miss my Dad.
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Re: Common Grief Reactions

Postby shamme-hwr » Fri Apr 25, 2014 9:16 am

I was talking with a group of ladies whose husbands had all died over this past fall. They talked about the how their grief had affected them, sadness, anger, poor appetite, poor sleep, lack of interest in things, but that day one really stood out. One of the more quiet members of our group said, “do you ever feel like you are losing your mind?” This started a chain reaction involving story after story about leaving the remote control in the refrigerator, pulling out of the driveway and having no idea where you are going, warming up the same cup of coffee eight times, calling family and asking the same question at least 3 or 4 times. Within minutes these ladies were sharing these stories and roaring with laughter for the first time in months. It was so beautifully stated at the end of that group, that while these things are not funny, especially when you are scouring your house looking for something, it is such a relief to know that you are not losing your mind, that it “frees you” from the overwhelming frustration and anger you can have with yourself. One woman shared that her sister had actually made an appointment for her to be evaluated for dementia! They were able to have a reason for this confusion, lack of concentration and forgetfulness. My favorite quote from that day is, “honey, you are not going crazy, you are grieving!” The next week we were all give a brand new note pad with funny quips on them for us to use for making lists to help us remember. Every time I look at mine I smile, and know that while grief can make us feel so isolated, there are at least 6 other ladies out there that can’t remember where their keys are either!!
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Re: Common Grief Reactions

Postby m_postotnik » Thu Feb 19, 2015 11:00 am

It is a common grief reaction to replay what happened at the end of your loved one’s life. Some people find it frustrating that they did not have the power to prolong or save their loved one’s life. They replay the scenarios trying to figure out what they or others could have done differently. It is healthy to try to make meaning of the events of the last days of your loved one’s life, but it can become difficult when you assign blame to yourself or others. Consultation with a grief counselor or attending grief support groups can assist the grieving person in accepting the loss of their loved one without taking on the responsibility for their death. Have you had experience with these aids in your healing from grief?
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