Anxiety/Heart Palpitations Loss of faith and belief system
Health Concerns Questions meaning & purpose
Dry mouth Loss of "Community"
Lack of energy Inability to access hope
Tight chest/throat for the future
Muscle weakness Cognitive
Weight loss/gain Disbelief/denial
Over-reaction to loud noise Confusion
Breathlessness Thought preoccupation
Hollowness in stomach Sense of presence
Loss of sexual desire Depersonalization
/hyper sexuality Visual/auditory hallucinations
Physical Pain Repetition of events
Shock/numbness Sleep Disturbance
Denial Appetite Disturbamce
Sorrow Social withdrawal
Sadness Dreams of deceased
Relief Avoidance of reminders
Guilt/self-reproach Searching/calling out
Anxiety Treasuring objects/Ritual
Anger Restless, overactivity
Yearning Clinging to reminders
Emancipation Inability to initiate and maintain
Abandonment organized activities
"There can be no knowledge without emotion. We may
be aware of a truth, yet until we have its force, it is not
ours. To the cognition of the brain must be added the
experience of the soul." Arnold Bennett (1867-1931)
No amount of knowledge can prepare you for bereavement. Grief is the most intense and enduring emotion we can experience. No quick fix. No short cuts. An ancient African saying "There is no way out of the valley, except to go through it." Knowledge of the grief process gives us only a generalized map of the terrain we have to cover. Each of us will take a different route. Each of us will choose our own landmarks. We will travel at our own speed and navigate using the tools provided by our culture, experience and faith. In the end, we will be forever changed by the journey.
Awareness helps us avoid the major pitfalls of grief. An awareness of what is known of grief assures us that we have not lost all sense of sanity. When we find ourselves feeling befuddled in a mist shrouded swamp we can say "It's Okay." This too is part of my journey. Others have gone this way before me and I will survive. I am only human, and I will survive this, I "will" survive this!!!! I am not sure how, but I will find my way and I will survive this...
The components of grief are varied and collective. They may come in waves, groups, or singularly. You may only have one component or all of them. You may not recognize what you are feeling or experiencing as you travel the road through the valley. Some of the components may sneak up on you and you may not even be aware of what you are experiencing. This list is included here for you to copy and keep. By having it you can look at it now and then to ascertain where you may be, or what you are going through.
Grief or bereavement theories are just generalized maps and nothing more. Each one is an attempt by a caring individual to understand and guide you through your pain. However, humans are unique and cannot be forced into a particular pattern of behavior. You will travel through grief at your own speed using your appropriate route.
To understand your route try this exercise: Draw a circle on paper let this circle represent a stage, phase, or piece of work you may be doing. It can be denial, shock, anger, confusion, numbness, a behavior you did together and must now do alone, or whatever you are feeling right now. Add a second circle (over lapping it at some point) and let it represent another thing. Perhaps what you were doing or feeling yesterday, last week, or an hour ago. Continue to add circles that over lap and represent emotions, physical sensations, cognition, or behaviors that belong to you. This is Grief's Blueprint, circles within circles and no way out or so you think. You may feel secure and at peace one second and find yourself in the paralyzing center of pain the next. It's okay, that is what it means to be human.
There is no complete list of experiences that comprise grief. The common ones are emotional, physical sensations, behaviors and cognitions. Cognition refers to the way "you" think and how information is processed by your brain. How you experience grief will be an unique process for you, and will be affected by many factors. The factors will include who died, how they died, what was the cause of death. The expected death of your loved one by some illness such as cancer may possibly have given you some time to adjust, beforehand. But the grief will still be palpapale. Were there unresolved issues? Unresolved conflict? Did they die unexpectedly? Did they die due to suicide, accident, trauma? The length of time you were together..etc....all of these will have varying degrees of affect upon your grieving.
A perfect example to describe how you may feel is a shotgun blast. As disconcerting as the the analogy, it displays the effect. It can fire a mixed load of pellets at high velocity. As the pellets travel they slow down and spread out. A target very close to the muzzle will be deeply wounded. A distant target will be barely wounded. Some people describe the impact death has on them as "I feel like a shotgun has blown a hole right through me." Researchers have compared the psychological effect of bereavement to a physical wound. How the body heals itself depends on the nature of the wound, the extent of the damage, the medical assistance, and the health of the victim. The person grieving may recover fully,experience some disability, or be limited. So it is with grief. Mourning is grief's time of healing. Mourning is your grief going public...and is a step you will achieve when your ready.
Another small yet important peice of information. "CRY", do not hold the tears back. Scientists have tested the tears of people experiencing grief, they have found they hold very high concentrations of toxins. Some of us are stoic by nature we hold back our tears and stuff them. Don't do this, you need to cleanse your body of the stress toxins that have accumulted in your body. Grief is stressful and holding it in can do damage to your body. Let yourself cry, it's all a part of being human. In the end it will make you feel better and keep you from becoming ill. Don't let anyone tell you, you shouldn't cry.
Some grief shotgun pellets:---you may be wounded by all, most, or just a few of these. Your grief is unique to you:
Sadness: the most common and recognizable.
Anger: You may be angry at God, the doctor, the system, even the person who died. Someone you love is gone. Why shouldn't you feel angry?
Frustration: Death is final. You want your loved one back and you can do nothing about it.
Guilt: The questions will come up. "Maybe I should have?" or "If only I had....? There will be many if only's and what if's.
Shock and Numbness: Initially you may feel nothing at all. Veterans are often surprised they were wounded after they took an action to help another. Accident victims become aware of injures only after they have taken care of everyone else.
General sense of fatigue or weakness
Shortness of breath or tightness in your chest
People describe the emotional in physical terms, " It knocked the wind right out of me.." It hit me right between the eyes..."
"Her death just crushed me.." are common examples.
Loss of appetite
Dreams or nightmares
Calling out the deceased's name
Treasuring or avoiding memento's.
Some experiences may lead you to think you are going crazy. You are not. Your mind and heart are simply not ready to 'let go' of them yet. In time, these sometimes confusing or frightening experiences will pass.
Guilt and Condemnation:
A common occurance during grief are guilt and condemnation, they will slam you with thoughts of all the things you wish you had said should have done, could have done, and may even make you feel guilty that you are still alive. They may make you feel that the life you are now moving into isn't fair to the one who passed away. Remember, you are alive, you have done nothing wrong. The loved ones passing is all in the scheme of time. You are alive and deserve to be, your life is worth living and you deserve to live it. When all is said and done you will realize that you did all you could do, and said all you should have, and nothing can change it now. Embrace your life, and move forward.
You may hear her voice, the sound of her footstep, see a glimpse of her moving in the room. These can be triggered by normal sounds, a scent that reminds you of the aroma of her perfume, or simple objects of everyday life. There is nothing wrong with this...it can be a part of your grief experience. Some of us have experienced this and it is quite normal. it only becomes problematic if you allow yourself to dwell here, life is where you are and life is where you need to be sure you stay.
Falling in Love with the Loved one again, when it becomes troublesome:
This is very common and in itself is not at all bad, they have passed and all we can see or
experience are the good times. The faults, problems, and various other things that may have made us realize how human they actually were; don't seem to matter anymore. We fall back in love with the person we have lost. It is a good thing, and yet it can be bad, if we tend to idolize them and lose sight of the future. If we find ourselves comparing others to the person we have lost. It can make for a hard adjustment. It is alright to experience a little of this, but be aware that you need to not let it interfere with your future. No one is your loved one, no one can take thier place, from this moment forward whomever you meet they should never be unfairly compared to the love you have lost. Each person is an individual, and needs to be treated as such.
Your faith may be a source of comfort or disillusionment. Speak to your pastor or find a mentor if you feel the need.
Absent mindedness,Preoccupation, and forgetfulness:
Is very common, The 3 days normally granted by employers mark only the beginning of your mourning. It will take considerably longer to resolve your grief. You may want to
take Family Leave from work. You are raw and need time to heal.
Work involving heavy equipment or power tools, or driving can be very dangerous following the death of a loved one. If you find yourself preoccupied with thoughts of them, stop the car, shut down the equipment and move to a safe area. Let yourself cry or think, do a safety check before your return to the task. Do not return to it until your emotions are back under control. If necessary leave the task and go home.
Depression and Grief:
Many grief experiences are similar to major depression. Depression is a natural reaction to the death of a loved one. This type of depression is called reactive depression. It occurs as a reaction to a specific event and its duration and intensity will vary. In the blueprint of your grief are moments of wondrous, joyful laughter as you recall great times. An immediate sense of depression may follow the laughter. This is normal. Your emotional roller coaster ride will gradually and gently slow down and level off. Occasionally, grief may lead to a full clinical depression and will require medical intervention. But that is
generally not the rule in grief. If depression does become clinical, please seek out a qualified provider for help.
The Clinical Depression Experience:
Clinical depression is a psychological disorder that affects men and women, children, adolescents and the elderly. Individuals who suffer from clinical depression experience distress and disability that is not an aspect of a person's normal life experience. People who are clinically depressed lose interest in their daily activities, hobbies and relationships, which may result in withdrawal from their usual life. Those who are depressed often feel hopeless and worthless, and may struggle with unwarranted guilty feelings and self-criticism. It can be difficult for the depressed individual to think or concentrate,and they are often consumed with thoughts of death. Please seek out a qualified providor for help. Do not suffer, get help.
Alcohol and Drugs:
Alcohol is a depressant drug. The term "Crying in her beer" is a valid observation. The use of drugs to "numb the pain" simply makes the pain last longer and can lead to severe complications. Talking to an understanding friend and having a toast to your loved one poses no danger. Using alcohol or drugs to sleep, or "to get me through the day" is cause for major concern. Be gentle with yourself, take care of yourself. Do only the drugs that are prescribed for you and for only as long as you need them...self-medicating should be a warning sign that you need counsol. Seek out a doctor for help.
You may experience some of these perfectly human feelings, for a surprisingly long time. With each passing day, as you explore and understand your loss, they should diminish in
frequency and intensity. The most important tool you have in your recovery is to talk with an accepting, understanding friend, pastor, mentor, or relative about your loss. Remember this is all temporary you will recover, just move through the valley one step at a time and at your own pace! But to the best of your ability, keep moving....
I Miss You
I miss you when something really good happens,
because you are the one I want to share it with..
I miss you when something is troubling me, because
you are the one who understands me so well..
I miss you when I laugh and cry because I know
that you are the one that makes my laughter grow
and my tears disappear..
I miss you all the time..
But I miss you most of all when I lay awake at
night and think of all the wonderful times we spent
with each other...for those are some of the best
times of my life......Jasmeet Virk