Symptoms of Grief

The Many Emotional States of Grief

How communities grieve

Immediately following the loss of a loved one, bereaved family members may typically be struck by a sense of disbelief and distress. A loss of self-esteem and confidence may also occur. Many bereaved people may also experience a bewildering range of emotions, such as relief, guilt, laughter, anguish and anger.

The support of family and friends during this time is an invaluable resource. Encourage the bereaved to express these emotions. Give them the opportunity to talk, allow them to cry and, when the conversation reveals some happy memories, don't be afraid to laugh.

Any or all of these emotions are typical reflections of the confusion and disruption that is being felt inside and should be treated as a valuable part of the grief journey.

Physical symptoms of grief are also common and may include sleeplessness, loss of appetite, tummy upset or chest pains. A sense of numbness or disconnection may also be experienced.

The months after the initial impact will usually prove to be a difficult and emotional time. The sense of disbelief has expired and support from family and friends begins to ebb away. It can be difficult to cope without this support.

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