Family & Relationships Family

Grief Following Loss

Crying and talking abut a loss are healthy responses.
However, lack of crying does not indicate there is no grief.
It can indicate resilience where a relatively stable demeanor is maintained with healthy level of positive emotions.
This does not indicate that this person feels their loss any less, only that they have a different method of coping.
When grief responses have been more in evidence, possibly following a temporary period of depression, in most cases recovery will gradually return to previous levels.
Chronic dysfunction is a prolonged inability to function and sometimes delayed grief symptoms can appear months after an apparently normal adjustment to a loss.
The five stages of grief as described by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross are denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.
But each person will respond differently to grief depending upon the situation.
Some may not experience the five stages and may only feel initial denial and perhaps extreme fatigue until there is acceptance.
There may also be feelings of injustice and anger that life around you continues to go on when you have suffered such a devastating loss.
What can be done to help cope with feelings of the loss of a loved one? The following are some ideas: - spend time with caring people; - express your feelings; - accept that there will be changes; - take care of your health; - return to previous interests; - postpone making any major life changes, possibly waiting a year or so; - if necessary contact a community organization for help; - acknowledge the pain of your loss, don't shove it to the back of your mind and ignore its existence; - let yourself cry; - talk about the loss of your loved one even if you get emotional; - exercise - physical activity is a good way to release tension; - have a hot bath, read a good book, eat your favorite foods, get a massage, have a nap or go to a movie with a friend; - do something to honor the memory of your loved one - perhaps plant a tree in his or her honor or place a bench in their favorite area; - join a support group; - avoid excessive alcohol - it can be a depressant; - don't blame yourself for things you think you should have done or said and didn't.
Depression is often part of the grieving process.
However lingering depression is not considered normal.
If it continues or affects daily life, consult your doctor because untreated depression can lead to other serious psychological disorders.
I have lost both of my parents.
My father died when he was still relatively young.
He was not ready to go and I was not ready to let him go.
I found his loss very difficult to deal with.
As such I was in denial for a very long time.
I was unable to talk about him without crying so I didn't, shoving it to the back of my mind instead.
It was a mistake because acceptance was a long time coming.
Besides having four small children, the youngest two months old when he died, I also didn't have the maturity to cope with his loss.
My mother died recently at ninety years of age.
She wanted to go, she had been unhappy with her poor health and her inability to do things for herself.
And although I feel her loss very strongly and am unhappy that I no longer have my mother, I am happy for her because she no longer has to suffer.
She has gone to join my father where she wants to be.
I now have better coping skills than I had in my early twenties so I can accept her loss more easily than I could when I was less mature.
And my mother had lived a good, full life.
But we are all different.
We will look at things differently and have different perspectives depending on where we are in our own life cycle.
In some cases losing a parent when we ourselves are getting older may force us to look at our own mortality.
Or we can accept the fact that this is the cycle of life and nothing is going to change it.

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