FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT GRIEF

by Victor Parachin

How Long Does Grief Last?

Because every griever is a unique personality, there is no single answer to this question. In most cases, the pain associated with grieving begins to subside considerably in the second and third years following loss. The heavy, depressive feelings in earlier months begin to break up with more hopeful optimistic feelings.

What Are the Signs of Grief?

On the emotional level, the bereaved experience some of the following: disbelief, shock, numbness, denial, sadness, anxiety, guilt, depression, anger, loneliness or frustration. The physical symptoms of grief include tightness of the chest or throat, pain in the heart area, panic attacks, dizziness or trembling. Grievers also report sleep disturbance, as in either too much or not enough sleeping.

Will I Ever Stop Crying?

Even though it may be difficult to believe, the tears will come to an end. This will not happen abruptly but gradually, and even after the intense crying ceases, there may be times when hearing a song or seeing a place can bring a moment of sadness along with a tear.

Do People Grieve the Same?

While many aspects of grieving are universal, (feelings of sadness, numbness, confusion, depression), there is no single prescribed way to grieve. Grieving is an individual endeavor. Some want to have many people around with whom they can share and explore their feelings. Others prefer to deal with loss more privately. Most people report that grieving is much like being on an emotional roller coaster.

Do Men and Women Grieve Differently?

The cultural stereotypes of women and men in grief are inaccurate. Generally, they portray women as being expressive with their grief while men are the “strong and silent” type. The reality is that some men need and want to express and share their feelings, while some women prefer to do their grief work in a more low-key way.

What Helps Grieving?

  • Seek out supportive people. Find a relative, friend, neighbor or spiritual leader who will listen non-judgmentally and provide you with support as you sort your way through grief.
  • Join a support group. Being with others who have had a similar loss is therapeutic. Express your feelings. Do this by confiding in a trusted friend or by writing in a journal.
  • Take care of your health. Eat balanced, nutritious meals. Rest properly. Find an exercise you enjoy and do it regularly. If you have physical problems, consult with your physician promptly.
  • Find outside help when necessary. If your bereavement feels too heavy for you to bear, find a counselor or therapist trained in grief issues to offer you some guidance.

When is Mourning Finished?

“4 Tasks” of Grieving

  1. When you accept the reality of the loss.
  2. When you adjust to an environment in which the deceased is missing
  3. When you experience the pain of the grief
  4. When you withdraw emotional energy and reinvest it in a new relationship