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Normal Feelings During Grief

Normal Feelings During Grief

 

 
Because grief can be so painful and seem overwhelming, it can frighten us. Many people who are in a grief
situation seem to wonder if they are grieving in the “right” way, and wonder if their feelings are normal.
It may be reassuring that most people who suffer a loss experience one or more of the following:
 Feel a tightness in the throat or a heaviness in the chest
 Have an empty feeling in their stomachs and lose their appetites
 Feel guilty at times; angry at others
 Feel restless and look for an activity but find it difficult to concentrate
 Feel as though the loss is not real, that it didn’t really happen
 Sense the child’s presence. Example: find themselves expecting the child to walk in the door, hearing
his/her voice or seeing his/her face
 Wander aimlessly, forget and be unable to finish projects
 Have difficulty sleeping and dream of their child frequently
 Experience an intense preoccupation with the life of the child
 Feel guilty or angry over things that did or did not happen in the relationship with the child
 Feel intensely angry at the child for leaving them
 Need to tell and retell and remember things about the child and the experience of death
 Feel mood changes/cry unexpectedly over the slightest thing
 Feel out of place with other people
How We Respond to Loss
When we face the death or ending of someone or something we love, the loss may be expressed emotionally,
physically, spiritually and psychologically. Due to the intensity of the grief, the responses expressed are
considered normal and healthy.
Physical experiences
 Inability to sleep or excessive sleep
 Exhaustion, no energy
 Appetite disturbances
 Tightness in chest area
 Sighing
 Loss of muscular strength
 Headaches
 Ulcers
 Shortness of breath
 Tightness in throat or lump in throat
 Nervousness
Emotional experiences
 Numbness
 Fear
 Inner hollowness
 Denial
 Shock
 Loneliness
 Panic
 Rage/anger
 Hopelessness
 Powerlessness
 Shame
 Guilt, self-blame
 Disorganization, difficulty in concentrating
Spiritual Responses
 Changes in priorities
 Searching for meaning in the loss
 Thankfulness for the precious time with loved one before death occurred
 Strong interest in life after death
 Interest in premonitions
 Questioning and eventually maturing prior belief system
 Belief that loved one is now healthy, whole and always with them
 Belief in the ‘mystery’ of life and a purpose in every life, even though
profound loss is inexplicable from an intellectual perspective
Psychological responses
 Mood swings
 Irritability and explosive responses
 Low self-esteem
 Inability to experience any type of pleasure
 Isolation over an extended period of time
 Lack of interest
 Prolonged negativity