Sunday, October 12, 2014

Manifestations of Grief

For the newly bereaved, there are normal manifestations of grief. Here are some of the ones you may come across:

**Lump in throat, tightness in your chest, palpitations. There is probably nothing wrong with you, except for the fact you lost the most precious thing in your life, so don’t run to the doctor unless a symptom persists or gets worse.

**Difficulty with remembering things. Your mind is full of your loss and it is normal to forget. Don’t even consider that you are getting alzheimers. As time passes and you begin to accept your loss, your memory loss problems will begin to disappear. If you feel you need to see a counselor, don’t hesitate.

**Crying at unanticipated times. Suddenly, a fond memory of your child will come to you and you find it difficult to control your emotions. Crying is a very natural emotion that cleanses, and you will feel better after a good cry.

**Having feelings of guilt and remorse. Depending on how your child died, you may feel guilty about a fight you had the day before, or that you never got to do all the things you wanted to do with them. Just remember, whether you had your child for a short or long time, you were fortunate to be able to do many wonderful things that you will always remember.

**Feeling that life no longer holds any meaning. Of course it does. Honor your loved one by doing something in their memory. Start a scholarship or foundation, set up charity runs and/or give to good causes. You will see how good it will make you feel to know your child will not be forgotten.

**Playing the “if only” game. If your child was sick and you did not take them to the doctor, or if you let them drive the family car and they got in an accident—stop there. You can “if only” yourself to death and it does not do anyone any good. What has happened can’t be undone, so move on and stop blaming yourself. If you could have saved your child, you would have.

**Longing to return to the way life used to be. Nothing will ever be the same again for you, so you must create a new life, with new goals, new priorities and probably new friends. You have changed and it is possible that some of your old friends don’t want to be around you anymore. Seek out those who understand what has happened to you by attending bereavement group meetings and meeting new people.

Additional manifestations include: loss of appetite, nausea, diarrhea, lump in your throat, anger at God, inability to sleep or concentrate, inability to complete normal tasks or read a book and anger at the loved one dying.

If you find yourself falling into any one of these categories, know that the grief journey is a lifetime experience and you will feel better with time. Take it slow, and time will be a great healer for you.

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