WHEN SOMEONE HAS DIED

A comforting thought, at least it helps me. What follows is a much longer read about dealing with death, People respond to the death in many different ways.   Much of what is felt varies  depending on many things including:

  • The relationship to the person who died
  • Whether the death was expected or not expected
  • Whether the person suffered before or during the death
  • The cause of death
  • The person’s previous experiences with death
  • The person’s religious or philosophical acceptance of death.

Many people report feeling an initial stage of numbness after first learning of a death, but there is no real order to the grieving process. Some emotions experience dinclude:

  • Denial
  • Disbelief
  • Confusion
  • Shock
  • Sadness
  • Yearning
  • Anger
  • Humiliation
  • Despair
  • Guilt
  • Relief
  • Satisfaction
  • Revenged
  • Happy
  • Ambivalent

These feelings are normal and common reactions to loss. In fact no feeling should be seen as abnormal.  The intensity and duration of will vary widely.   Finally, there may be rapidly shifting moodiness or sudden changes in feeling.

MOURNING A LOVED ONE

Mourning is the natural process and eventually leads to acceptance of the loss. Mourning may include religious traditions honoring the dead or gathering with friends and family to share the loss. Mourning may last months or years.

Grieving is the outward expression of  loss.  Grief is likely to be expressed physically, emotionally, and psychologically. For instance, crying is a physical expression, while depression is a psychological expression.

It is very important to allow the expression these feelings. Often, death is a subject that is avoided, ignored or denied.  Many people report physical symptoms that accompany grief. Stomach pain, loss of appetite, intestinal upsets, sleep disturbances and loss of energy are all common symptoms of acute grief. Of all life’s stresses, mourning can seriously test natural defense systems. Existing illnesses may worsen or new conditions may develop.

Profound emotional reactions may occur. These reactions include anxiety attacks, chronic fatigue, depression and thoughts of suicide. An obsession with the deceased is also a common reaction to death.

.A child’s death arouses an overwhelming sense of injustice — for lost potential, unfulfilled dreams and senseless suffering. Parents may feel responsible for the child’s death, no matter how irrational that may seem. Parents may also feel that they have lost a vital part of their own identity.

A spouse’s death is very traumatic. In addition to the severe emotional shock, the death may cause a potential financial crisis if the spouse was the family’s main income source.  The death may necessitate major social adjustments requiring the surviving spouse to parent alone, adjust to single life and maybe even return to work.

Elderly people may be especially vulnerable when they lose a spouse because it means losing a lifetime of shared experiences. At this time, feelings of loneliness may be compounded by the death of close friends.

A loss due to suicide can be among the most difficult losses to bear. They may leave the survivors with a tremendous burden of guilt, anger and shame. Survivors may even feel responsible for the death.  Seeking counseling during the first weeks after the suicide is particularly beneficial and advisable.

IF YOU ARE LIVING WITH GRIEF

  • Seek out caring people.Find relatives and friends who can understand your feelings of loss. Join support groups with others who are experiencing similar losses.
  • Express your feelings. Tell others how you are feeling; it will help you to work through the grieving process.
  • Take care of your health. Maintain regular contact with your family physician and be sure to eat well and get plenty of rest. Be aware of the danger of developing a dependence on medication or alcohol to deal with your grief.
  • Accept that life is for the living.It takes effort to begin to live again in the present and not dwell on the past.
  • Postpone major life changes. Try to hold off on making any major changes, such as moving, remarrying, changing jobs or having another child. You should give yourself time to adjust to your loss.
  • Be patient. It can take months or even years to absorb a major loss and accept your changed life.
  • Seek outside help when necessary.If your grief seems like it is too much to bear, seek professional assistance to help work through your grief. It’s a sign of strength, not weakness, to seek help.

 HELPING OTHERS GRIEVE

If someone you care about has lost a loved one, you can help them through the grieving process.  It is also important to know that when someone else greives, it often awakens in you past griefs.  Tears we shed or feelings that are aroused  when offering comfort to another are for ourselves as well as for the person whose grief we seek to comfort.  We should be mindful that our focus must be on the other persons.  We must not withdraw because of our pain, or seek comfort from the grieving person for our losses.  This is the time to be there for the other person’s current loss.

Share the sorrow. Allow them — even encourage them — to talk about their feelings of loss and share memories of the deceased.

Don’t offer false comfort.  It doesn’t help the grieving person when you say “it was for the best” or “you’ll get over it in time.” Instead, offer a simple expression of sorrow and take time to listen.

Offer practical help. Baby-sitting, cooking and running errands are all ways to help someone who is in the midst of grieving.

Be patient. Remember that it can take a long time to recover from a major loss. Make yourself available to talk.

Encourage professional help when necessary. Don’t hesitate to recommend professional help when you feel someone is experiencing too much pain to cope alone.

HELPING CHILDREN GRIEVE

Children who experience a major loss may grieve differently than adults. A parent’s death can be particularly difficult for small children, affecting their sense of security or survival. Often, they are confused about the changes they see taking place around them, particularly if well-meaning adults try to protect them from the truth or from their surviving parent’s display of grief.

Limited understanding and an inability to express feelings puts very young children at a special disadvantage. Young children may revert to earlier behaviors (such as bed-wetting), ask questions about the deceased that seem insensitive, invent games about dying or pretend that the death never happened.

Coping with a child’s grief puts added strain on a bereaved parent. However, angry outbursts or criticism only deepen a child’s anxiety and delays recovery.  Instead, talk honestly with children, in terms they can understand. Take extra time to talk with them about death and the person who has died. Help them work through their feelings and remember that they are looking to adults for suitable behavior.

THANKG YOU FOR ALL YOU DO

Remember to share all you find of value on the internet.  All who post crave recognition. A like says “Thank You.” Comments say you have read and thought about the post. Sharing is a gift to three people: the blogger, the people you share with, and you for your kindness blesses you.

Katherine

Links of Interest

These links are for those not familiar with Emotional Intelligence or the idea of Emotional Fitness.

Even the most learned researchers and therapists quarrel about much.  Take their advice and mine carefully.  Don’t just listen to your heart, but also think; don’t just think, listen to your heart.  Heart and head working together increase the odds you will find useful advice amid all the promises and hopes pushed at you be others.  As others have noted, take what seems useful, leave the rest.

Disclaimer two: Forgive my grammatical errors

If you need perfect posts, you will not find them here;  I will understand if you don’t follow, like or share what like me.  Not only am I dealing with an aging brain, but all of my life I have been plagued by dysgraphia–a learning disability,  Some of my posts might be peppered with bad spelling, poor punctuation, and worse words that make no sense.  If you want to hang in with me, thank you; you are kind. If a post doesn’t make sense or bugs you too much, stop reading, I will understand.

Agree or disagree, comments are always welcomed.

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