Processes of GriefEach person will go through the following processes at his/her own pace, in his/her own order, and in his/her own time. The order of the processes or the length of time spent with each process can vary depending on the amount of unfinished business left over from previous losses and/or the type of loss experienced (e.g., natural death vs. suicide or murder, loss of a job through a lay off vs. retirement). Each process is normal, healthy, and natural!
Rando, T.A. (1993). Treatment of complicated mourning. Champaign, Illinois: Research Press. Manifestations of Health Grieving Many people who are first encountering a significant loss are surprised at the range of emotions thoughts, behaviors, and sensations they experience. Often grieving people wonder if what they are experiencing is typical. the following is a listing of the most frequently reported symptoms that grieving persons report. these are all quite normative, although they can be disruptive at times. It is often reassuring to persons grieving a loss to know that their experiences are very normal.
from sense of frustration
from feeling helpless
anger can easily be turned inward
Guilt and self-reproach
from heightened sense of own mortality
Emancipation and/or relief if, for example, the deceased had been painfully ill for some time
Hollowness in the stomach
Tightness in the chest
Tightness in the throat
Oversensitivity to noise
A sense of depersonalization - numbness
Breathlessness, feeling short of breath
Weakness in muscles
Lack of energy
COMMON THOUGHT PATTERNS
Confusion - disorganization
Sense of presence (of the deceased)
Dreams of the deceased
Factors that Inhibit GrievingThere are various factors that can inhibit (or hinder) grieving. All of the following examples may be inhibiting factors in the grieving process, but they do not preclude that the person will not grieve at some time. Hopefully, these inhibitions or blocks will be overcome and grieving will proceed unimpeded. Some of these include the following:
Understanding and Coping with the Grieving Process There are no easy answers for how to cope with grief and loss. However, the following is a list of suggestions from those who have lived through and beyond the loss(es) they have experienced. Here are some of their thoughts:
Grieving: What you can "DO"
How to Survive those "Special Days" In our lives, there are many holidays or "special days" (e.g., wedding anniversaries, birthdays, holidays, graduations, the anniversary of someone's death). These can all be difficult days for someone who is grieving the loss of someone they cared about; however, there may be one or two "special days" that for you means "togetherness." It is during these times when you may be acutely aware of the void in your life. For many, the wish is to avoid these "special days." However, if it is a holiday shared by many in your society (e.g., Christmas, Hanukkah, New Years), you may be unable to escape the seasonal greetings or wishes. You may also see the perfect gift for your dead partner, child, relative, or friend, and you may suddenly realize that s/he will not be with you this year. Listed below are some ideas and suggestions that others have found helpful in coping with "special days." Choose those ideas that appeal to you.
Grief and Loss References *Becker, M. R. (1992). Last touch: Preparing for a parent's death. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger Publications, Inc. *Bridges, W. (1980). Transitions: Making sense of life's changes. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley Publishing Co. *Buscalia, L. (1982). The fall of Freddie the leaf. New York: Charles B. Slack, Inc. (for children) Colgrove, M., Bloomfield, H. H., & McWilliams, P. (1976). How to survive the loss of a love. New York: Bantam Books. *Dunn, E. J., McIntosh, J. L., & Dunne-Maxim, J. (Eds.). (1987). Suicide and it's aftermath. New York: W. W. Norton & Co. Faire Donnelly, K. (1988). Recovering from the loss of a sibling. New York. Dodd, Mead & Co., Inc. Kubler-Ross, E. (1975). Death: The final stage of growth. Englewood Cliff, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc. Kubler-Ross, E. (1985). On children and death. New York: MacMillian. Kubler-Ross, E. (1969). On death and dying. New York: Macmillian. Kubler-Ross, E. (1974). Question and answers on death and dying. New York: Macmillian Publishing Co. Neal, R. E. (1973). The art of dying. New York: Harper & Row. Rofes, E. E. (1985). The kids book about death and dying. Boston, MA: Little Brown and Co. (for children) *Staudacher, C. (1987). Beyond grief: A guide for recovering from the death of a loved one. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger Publications. Staudacher, C. (1991). Men and grief: A guide for men surviving the death of a loved one. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger Publications. *Particularly recommended We gratefully acknowledge the assistance of Anne Reith, Ph.D., and Mary Rudy-Chapman, M.A. in the creation of this handout.
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