The following are some of the signs of grief in feelings and behavior.
Sadness - Is a natural reaction to loss and is often accompanied by feeling emotional or tearful.
Anger - It is normal to feel angry following bereavement: at God, at doctors, etc. Why has this happened to me? Why has my loved one gone? There may even be anger against the deceased for having left. The anger may be the result of the frustration at not having been able to prevent the death, and because of being left behind. Of having been deserted. Anger is a natural emotion and should be expressed: if it is suppressed, anger will cause problems. Self blame will only cause feelings of guilt, which can cause problems later.
Guilt - Feelings of guilt usually occur because of something the bereaved person might think they should have done or said, and didnít. Or something they feel they neglected around the time of death. Talk about these feelings. It is more than likely such feelings of guilt are disproportionate and will eventually be resolved by recalling the realities of events leading up to the bereavement, and knowing that you did all you could.
Anxiety - It is natural to feel insecure and worried, or even more intensely anxious in reaction to loss. Change of status can lead to thoughts such as: How will I cope with the things the deceased always did for me? How will I manage financially? How will I cope with being alone? How long will I live? These fears should not be "bottled up". Live life a day at a time, and find other people to help.
Loneliness - Loneliness is an everyday experience and can be felt more acutely at night, the start of the day and other times which are 'special', for example, anniversaries, birthdays, Christmas, etc.† Loneliness is a state of mind rather than a state of being and therefore cannot necessarily be overcome by being surrounded by other people; however, they can offer valuable support.
Fatigue - Feelings of anxiety/tension, of loss and life change are all likely to produce fatigue. It will pass in time.
Helplessness - This is associated with anxiety and is perhaps worse in the early stages of loss, particularly if the bereaved has been left with a big family to care for, or other worrying responsibilities. Get someone to help by offering practical help or advice.
Yearning - Yearning for the deceased is common experience. Try to Ďlet goí at your own pace and in your own way. Unfortunately, death is a reality.
Relief - If there has been a prolonged and painful illness, it is natural for feelings of relief that the deceased has been released from pain and misery. Likewise, if life with the deceased was unhappy, because of oppression or ill-treatment, it is proper that there should be feelings of relief to be free and able to make a new and happier life for oneself. Beware associated feelings of guilt.
Numbness - Is likely to occur because the conscious mind has been overwhelmed by many different, and often conflicting, feelings and experiences.
There is no set time scale for grieving. Some people take longer than others to come to terms with and accept their loss, and it is not uncommon for some people to still feel grief, two or even more years following bereavement. Some people may never get over it.
What can I do to help myself?
∑† If you are religious, praying and talking with a minister might be helpful.
∑†† Acknowledge and express feelings.
∑† Share experiences with family and friends.
∑† Open the mind to discover ways to learn how to live without the deceased.
∑† Gradually "let go" emotionally from the deceased.
∑† Keep active and maintain interest and relationships with other people.
∑† Encourage friends and neighbors to 'pop in'. Otherwise, if they do not know how to approach you, they might not call because of their embarrassment.
∑† If you feel like pitying yourself, do so. Something tragic has happened to you, and you need to experience your grief and learn how to survive it.
∑† Christmas, birthdays and anniversaries can be difficult times for bereaved people. Having others around might help relieve the pain.††