QUESTION: Explain the different ways members of the same family experience grief.
Grief is a lot of emotions rolled into one package. Each person will experience and show these emotions in their own way and own time. When we are grieving we may all have the same emotions and often we have the same thoughts but we will show them differently because each of us is a unique individual. As a family, members may be experiencing different feelings at different times.
Grief can show itself in physical ailments. Grief physically hurts. You can feel tired and listless.
Grief is the feeling I am sad and lonely because you are not in my life anymore.
Grief is the feeling I am confused and adrift. My life has changed and I don’t know where to start or what to do to create a new one. I can’t seem to think clearly.
Grief is the feeling I am angry. I'm angry with you for dying. You’re gone and I’m the one who has to start over.
I’m angry with God for letting this happen. Why did this happen to me?
Often people are unable to express their anger so they find fault with others or become argumentative, or just hold the anger in and not express it but it is under the surface of their life and actions.
Grief is the feeling I am so depressed. Anger held inward becomes depression. I am so depressed I can’t leave the house, some days I can’t even get dressed. I can’t eat or I eat too much. I can’t sleep or I sleep too much. I am so depressed.
Grief is the feeling I am frightened. I am not as in control of my life as I thought I was. We did everything we were supposed to do. We ate the right foods, exercised, did all the right treatments and you died anyway. These feelings tell me I and others close to me could die too. Death takes away the idea that we are immortal. This realization is frightening.
We can have all these feelings at once or one at a time. They will come and go. Some days will be easier than others.