We often think of grief only as it relates to our feelings after someone has died. In reality, there are many symptoms of grief that we experience emotionally, cognitively, physically, socially and spiritually. These symptoms of grief will come and go from the very moment you hear of the terminal diagnosis to years after the passing of a loved one.

Everyone involved in a death or loss experiences grief in a different way. It is like everyone is sitting on a different spot on a map, but looking at how to get to a similar point of adjustment. Sometimes it can be difficult to understand others’ grief because their road to recovery is not the same as yours. Anyone navigating the grief process can benefit from knowing that they aren’t alone, and there are resources to help understand the journey.

What is grief?

Grief is the natural reaction to a loss that has occurred in our lives. It affects our entire world: our emotions, our health, our social life and even the way we think. Grief can last for years or only a few weeks or months; it can be mild or serious, and it can fluctuate over time.

How does it feel?

  • Like your world has been flipped upside down
  • Like your world no longer makes sense
  • Like you are alone in the world
  • Like you might be going crazy
  • Like you have a lack of interest in what you were once passionate about

How might it affect me physically?

  • Tearfulness and crying
  • Weight loss or weight gain
  • Inability to sleep
  • Sense of exhaustion and lack of energy
  • Anxiety and nervousness
  • Restlessness and inability to concentrate

What can I expect?

  • Initial shock, numbness and possibly denial
  • Sadness and depression
  • Feelings of anger, guilt and emotional imbalance
  • Feelings of disorganization and being overwhelmed

The greater your attachments to people, places and things, the deeper your grief will be when they are gone. You can try to be strong for others, but first, it’s most important to acknowledge your own grief and find ways to process, share and express your sorrow. Hospice’s bereavement support can be an important step in the healing process. Some may need spiritual counseling, visits and cards from volunteers or special memorial services. Whatever your journey, grief will be a difficult process, but Masonic Village Hospice is here to support those who are healing.