Grief in Brief Series 2 – For the Recently Bereaved



  1. The Early Days of Grief

It is never easy to experience a loss. There are no words to describe the overwhelming sense of pain you feel when someone you care about is in a life­ threatening situation or a loved one dies.

  1. First you Hurt, Then you Heal.

Have you noticed how within a remarkably short time after a national or personal tragedy, the focus moves very quickly from the grief of the disaster or calamity, to expressions like, “Let the healing begin”.

  1. Confusing Numbness with Strength

Carolyn, my young wife died unexpectedly of a heart attack in 1983, and her death and the overwhelming emotions that followed that event, caught me completely by surprise.

  1. The Sense of Unreality and Shock:

When you are told a loved one has died, your first thought is often: “No! This cannot be happening. There must be a mistake. You have the wrong person. Maybe this is a case of mistaken identity. There has to be some other explanation.”

  1. Am I Losing my Mind!

In the weeks and even months after the death of a loved one, you may experience many seemingly strange symptoms

  1. Why am I so TIRED?

Grief not only affects us emotionally and intellectually, it also takes a toll on us physically. Often coming to terms with loss causes us to feel fatigued, even though we may not feel we have been particularly active or doing much.

  1. The Power of STORY

When I was a kid, I used to love when my mother would read my sister and I stories. How these tales captured my imagination. I would sometimes picture myself in that story, usually as the hero, of course.

  1. Time Frames for Symptoms

The question I am most often asked as a counselor is “How long does grief last?” I respond that “grief always takes longer than people who haven’t been through it expect!” Grief takes its own time in each situation, because “there is no one, neat, orderly timeframe for grief.” In one way it is never finished, even though we get through it.

9.a    Fear and Anxiety:

Grief can be an emotional pendulum, swinging from one extreme to another. Some days you may feel numb, and other times the pain of your loss might seem to overwhelm you. One day you seem to be feeling nothing, the next you experience over sensitivity with a veritable explosion of emotions and feelings assailing you.

9.b   Fear and Anxiety

We’re talking about fear and anxiety. We all like to believe that we have some semblance of control over our own lives and circumstances. When someone dies, that impression is often shaken. We realize, sadly, that we do not have power over death, because if we did, and had been able to change the outcome, we probably would have.

9.c    Fear and Anxiety

We sometimes regard feelings as the enemy, something to be resisted and subdued. But our emotions are actually friends, not foes, and as such we need to try to understand what they are teaching us about our situation and ourselves.

  1. Embracing Unusual Feelings

As we have seen, when you’re grieving the loss of a loved one, you experience many different thoughts and feelings. Often people feel overwhelmed by the intensity of those emotions.