Death is a subject that is avoided, ignored or denied. It is not easy to cope after a loved one dies. Mourning is the natural process you go through to accept a significant loss. Mourning may include religious traditions honouring the deceased or gathering with friends and family to share your loss. Grief is personal and may last months or years. Grieving is the outward expression of your loss.

Your grief is likely to be expressed physically, emotionally, and psychologically. It is imperative to allow yourself to express these feelings. At first, it may seem helpful to separate yourself from the pain, but you cannot avoid grieving forever. Someday those feelings will need to be resolved, or they may cause physical or emotional illness.

Many people report physical symptoms that accompany grief. Stomach pain, loss of appetite, intestinal upsets, sleep disturbances and loss of energy are all common symptoms of acute grief. Profound emotional reactions may occur. These reactions include chronic fatigue and thoughts of suicide. A preoccupation with the deceased is also a typical reaction to death.

What is grief?

Grief is a natural response to loss. It is the emotional suffering you feel when something or someone you love is taken away. The more significant the loss, the more intense your grief will be. You may associate grieving with the death of a loved one, which is often the cause of the most intense type of grief, but any loss can cause grief.

Even subtle losses in life can trigger a sense of grief. You might grieve after moving away from home, graduating from university or college, or even moving from a job you love. Whatever your loss, it is personal to you, so do not feel ashamed about how you feel, or believe that it’s somehow only appropriate to grieve for certain things.

While loss affects people in different ways, remember that almost anything that you experience in the early stages of grief is normal including feeling like you’re going crazy, feeling like you are in a bad dream, or questioning your religious or spiritual beliefs.

Book your appointment with Dr Michelle Vlok-Barnard today.