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Q: Is grief a normal reaction to the loss of a loved one?

Posted July 17, 2013 in Advice Column, Winterset

A: Yes. Grief is a normal emotional reaction to loss. There are no limits, boundaries or rules in terms of loss or what could be considered a loss. Grief involves emotional pain that varies by individual and loss. Grief may be especially burdensome in response to a loss that was traumatic, sudden or severe.

Q: Anger is an unusual response to grief. True or false?

A: False. Anger is a normal part of grieving. In fact, it is not unusual for people to experience a range of emotions as part of the healing process. One who has experienced loss may also experience denial, numbness, shock, remorse, guilt, depression, despair, loneliness, anger and acceptance. It is important to note that there is no specific order of stages in which to grieve, and that grief is not limited to the emotional behaviors mentioned here.

Q: Who has more difficulty dealing with major loss?

A: Grieving children. It is not unusual for children to express brief or occasional responses to grief, but the reality is that children have greater difficulty than adults managing emotional responses to grief and trauma. In truth, because children grieve longer than adults, children in mourning require frequent assessment, discussion and acknowledgement of their feelings over time.

Q: What is anticipatory grief?

A: Grief for an upcoming loss event. Anticipatory grief is a reaction to an upcoming, impending or expected loss event. It can be an important part of the grieving process and can help a person sort out emotions in preparation for the loss. Remember, everyone grieves differently, and anticipatory grief may not necessarily lessen grief or shorten the grieving process.

Q: Should a grieving person minimize feelings?

A: No. Minimizing one’s feelings may actually hinder the grief and healing process that is natural following a loss. Other avoidance behaviors can include thrusting oneself into work, self-medicating with drugs, alcohol or other substances, compulsive patterns and behavior and/or avoiding emotions.

Q: Crying can help resolve grief. True or false?

A: True. It’s alright to cry. For a grieving person, crying is a healthy, natural release as part of the grieving process. If you or someone you know is grieving, it may help to experience thoughts and feelings openly through writing or journaling, speak openly with other family members who suffered the same loss, accept and allow a range of emotions  and seek professional help for overwhelming feelings or trouble returning to daily activities over time.

Information from Medicinet, provided by Winterset Care Center North, 411 E. Lane St., 462-1571 and Winterset Care Center South, 715 S. Second Ave. 462-4040.





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