Grief and the Death of a Loved One

Dirt road through pine trees

What it is?

Grief is a natural and normal reaction we experience when we go through changes in our lives. This experience of grief can be most dramatic following the death of someone we have loved. There are many factors that impact our response: Who was this person in our life? -The nature of the relationship What happened?- The circumstances of the death- Expected, unexpected, following an illness, unfinished business, ambivalent feelings. What kind of support do you prefer?- One-to-one counseling, support group, reading materials?

How does it feel?

Grief can affect us mind, body & spirit. We can find ourselves feeling confused or forgetful. We can feel grief in our body- an ache in our chest, have trouble breathing deeply, we might feel shaky or panicky. Spiritually, we might find ourselves searching our faith tradition for words of comfort, or be looking for words to explain the death. We might feel uncomfortable in telling others we feel angry at God, but many people express this feeling.

How long does it last? How do you get over it?

While we never “get over” the death of someone we have loved, we can find good and healthy ways to cope with a challenging time. Many people become fearful at the intensity of what they feel during grief and worry that they are “going crazy.” Understanding that many others have felt this very same way can help us to lower our anxiety and know that there is nothing wrong with us. Famed writer C.S. Lewis, following the death of his wife wrote, “No one told me that grief felt so much like fear.”

What are different ways that I can get help?

Try some support groups that are close to you. Read about therapists who might specialize in the kind of grief you are experiencing. Try some initial visits. Trust your instincts as you go along. Just the fact that you are here on the GriefLink website is a very healthy sign that you are reaching out to find information and support for yourself!  

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