As we encounter the changing terrain of life, loss and grief are inevitable parts of life that we will all experience. Whether it be the death of a beloved, estrangement from family, illness, disability, unemployment, or any other separation from person, place, situation or activity. To grieve and mourn in a way that humans can express and assimilate their losses.
Grief is a subjective experience often filled with prolonged confusion and suffering. Following are the main grief reactions or responses that can be experienced:
- Emotionally the bereaved experiences feelings of sadness, anger, anxiety, loneliness, helplessness, shock, yearning, relief and numbness.
- Physically the body carries the weight of the grief through physical symptoms such as a hollowness in the stomach, tightness in the chest or throat, over sensitivity to noise, breathlessness and fatigue.
- Cognitively the bereaved may experience disbelief, confusion, preoccupation and hallucinations.
- Behaviourally the bereaved may experience a disturbance in sleep or appetite, become forgetful, hyperactive, socially withdrawn, have dreams of the deceased, searching or calling out for the deceased and crying.