Grief is a normal emotion after the loss of a loved one. The way that a person experiences grief is unique to each individual. Some people experience intense grief or anger for a short time, while others experience grief for many years after the loss of a loved one. Some signs of grief include unexpected anger, extreme sadness, and a feeling of emptiness.
While grief is a challenging emotion, there are resources available to help you manage your grief and accept the loss. With help, you can move through the stages of grief with grace and understanding.
The Emotions of Grieving
Grief can cause you to lose interest in activities that you usually enjoy, or it can cause you to withdraw from family and friends. Some of the emotions that you may feel include anger, sadness, numbness, emptiness, or guilt.
Physical symptoms of grief can include changes in your normal eating or sleeping pattern, tiredness, confusion, or even trouble breathing. Some people also experience difficulty concentrating on everyday tasks. Talking to a counselor or therapist can be helpful if your grief is causing physical symptoms, or if you need help processing your emotions.
Some people facing grief experience a crisis of faith after losing a loved one. You may question your beliefs, or stop having faith in beliefs that you once held. You may change your religious beliefs, or you may question the value of life. These changes are normal when facing loss.
How Long Is the Grieving Process?
Grief is a deep, complex emotion that does not have a time limit. Some people may move through the stages of grief within a short time, while others struggle with grief for many years. It is important to know that time does soften the blow of losing a loved one. You may never completely stop grieving, but with time you can come to accept the loss.
The amount of time it takes for you to move through the grieving process can depend on your age and maturity level, how well you cope with stress in your daily life and your current physical and mental health. If you are struggling with accepting the loss of a loved one, talk to a person in your community who can provide you with guidance. For instance, a spiritual leader, therapist, or even your physician are all available for you anytime you feel overwhelmed by grief.
Helping Others Who Are Grieving
Simply listening to others can help them move through the grieving process. Don’t worry about saying or doing the right things, as your friend or family member just needs someone to be there for them. Remember that not everyone processes grief quickly. Try to spend plenty of time with your loved one as they work toward accepting loss.
Helping Children Cope with Loss
Children also experience grief, but may not understand loss as well as an adult. Answer your child’s questions honestly rather than avoiding the situation, and spend some quality time with your child to help them accept the loss. A grief counselor is a good option if your child is acting out or having other behavioral issues after losing a loved one.
When to Seek Help
If you experience prolonged grief that affects your normal routine, or if you begin to have thoughts of suicide, seek help. A doctor or licensed therapist can provide you with tools to help you move through the process of grieving. Your local hospice is also an excellent resource if you are in the process of grieving. Grief is a normal emotion, and seeking help is often the best way to move toward accepting the loss of a loved one.