It has been said that grief is the price of love. If we didn’t love so intensely, we would not grieve so deeply. This price is something we are willing to pay, though it costs us dearly.
There are many things that will cause us to grieve differently. The gender differences between men and women in itself will cause us to grieve differently. There are also differences in culture, in religious beliefs, and family dynamics. The things that are happening in your life at the time will contribute to how well you cope (or don’t cope) with your grief. There are many characteristics of grief however that are commonly reported.
Grief is more like a journey than an event. It may feel like you are on an emotional roller coaster as you experience a variety of emotions. Early in the grief journey, many people talk about feeling numb and not feeling anything at all. That numbness may turn into a period of seemingly relentless pain. This can be frightening because it is hard to believe that a person can survive such suffering. You will survive this time, and it often helps to have a support group to share this pain with.
As time goes by you may have a couple of good days followed by a really bad one. You may have times of spontaneous crying. This is sometimes accompanied by shortness of breath. Don’t think you are having a setback when you have a bad day. This is a normal part of the grief process.
Characteristics of Grief
There are certain characteristics that are normally reported by those in grief. There are physical as well as emotional and mental or behavioral characteristics. Here is a brief list of some normal physical reactions.
• Tightness in the throat making it difficult to talk.
• Heaviness in the chest and shoulders.
• All over body aches and pain.
• Light headedness.
• Deep sighing.
• Changes in appetite, either decreased or increased.
• Feeling physically exhausted.
Our emotions can feel like they are out of control as we ride the roller coaster up and down. It’s important to understand that feeling these emotions are normal. Often time’s people talk about the emotions they are having, and then feel guilty because they feel a certain way. They may feel angry and then feel guilty for being angry, and maybe even feel like they are losing their mind. You are not going crazy, or losing your mind. These are all normal reactions to grief.
• Feeling numb and not feeling anything at all.
• Feeling as if the loss isn’t real – as if it didn’t really happen.
• Intense feelings of sadness.
• A deep desire and yearning.
• Anger. This emotion can become intense.
• Spontaneous crying.
• Mood swings.
• Relief, especially if the grief is for the loss of a loved one who was suffering for a long time, and/or you were the primary care giver for, etc.
• Feeling like life has lost its meaning.
• A big upswing in all of these emotions and others can be expected during the holidays,...