Healing Comes in Waves: The Grieving Process and Honoring the Lives of Loved Ones - Pepperdine Graphic (2022)

Healing Comes in Waves: The Grieving Process and Honoring the Lives of Loved Ones - Pepperdine Graphic (1)

Pictured: Sammie Wuensche. Photo illustration by Anastasia Condolon

When one first learns a loved one has died, it can feel overwhelming, perhaps unforeseen — like getting lost in a tidal wave.

One might be out in the ocean for a while feeling disoriented and confused. Over time, memories of the loved one come back, sometimes unexpectedly — even when the water appears to be calm. As time continues on, the waves can become almost sweet, gentle reminders of the beloved.

This is one way Connie Horton, vice president for Student Affairs, said she views grief after her father died in 2015. Although she still feels sad, she said there is a sweetness when something reminds her of her father.

“Every time there’s a Red-tailed Hawk that goes by, I can almost hear his voice saying, ‘I think that’s a Red-tailed Hawk,’ and then getting the binoculars,” Horton said. “I’m grateful that he taught me to appreciate nature and to pay attention, and it becomes like this reflective moment versus this wave that knocks me over.”

Each person’s experience with grief does not look the same. One’s cultural and religious background plays a significant role in the grieving process. COVID-19 has also forced many individuals to experience loss differently.

The psychology of grief

Some understand the mourning process through the Kübler-Ross model, also known as the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.

Healing Comes in Waves: The Grieving Process and Honoring the Lives of Loved Ones - Pepperdine Graphic (2)

Elizabeth Mancuso, Psychology professor and clinical psychologist, said she thinks the model gives people a language to understand and normalize grief.

People do not often experience the different “stages” in a linear or orderly fashion, Mancuso said. Instead, people vacillate between them.

“It’s going to look different for everyone,” Mancuso said. “Whatever it looks like for you is normal, and it’s good, and it’s part of the grieving process.”

Horton, a psychologist and former director of the Pepperdine Counseling Center, said many factors affect how a person responds psychologically to the loss of a loved one including the nature and timing of the death, the nature of the relationship with the loved one, how one is doing overall before the death and their personality and social support.

Horton said for some, the grieving process can be “complicated,” especially if the relationship between an individual and their loved one was tense.

Senior Ani Harutyunyan said she and her family are still in shock and struggling to accept that her grandfather died unexpectedly because of how strong and healthy he was. The true cause of his death is still not entirely known.

It all began when Harutyunyan’s grandmother contracted COVID-19 and suffered from the symptoms. Harutyunyan said she thinks it affected her grandpa — who did not get the virus himself — to see his wife of 52 years in pain. Harutyunyan noticed that he was not acting like his usual, enthusiastic self.

On Jan. 6, Harutyunyan’s grandpa collapsed and was rushed to the hospital. Harutyunyan said the hospital’s regulations did not allow the family to go into the ICU to see him, so they would try to FaceTime him as much as they could, even though he couldn’t verbally respond because he was on life support.

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Harutyunyan said she and her family believe the hospital did not tell them the truth about what was going on with her grandpa’s condition.

“We don’t know what was happening,” Harutyunyan said. “Since he stepped foot into the hospital, everything has been a blur for us, and I think that’s what makes it harder for us to cope sometimes — just thinking about how sudden everything was and how we knew nothing.”

Harutyunyan and her aunt eventually fought with the hospital to honor his wishes to die peacefully in his own home surrounded by family. When they brought him home, Harutyunan spent three days next to her grandpa, holding his hand and speaking to him until someone arrived to pull the plug.

Sophomore Sammie Wuensche lost her grandfather due to COVID-19 near the end of November.

Wuensche said before her “popo” died, the hospital let Wuensche’s grandma see him in person, and all of their grandchildren called her phone to say their final goodbyes.

“It must have been so hard because he had to do it alone,” Wuensche said. “They let my grandma in at the very end, and she had to go in a full hazmat suit, and so it wasn’t even like she was really there, so he was literally doing it by himself.”

Susan Giboney, retired Pepperdine professor of Education and certified family life educator, lost her husband of 36 years Dec. 6, 1996. Terry Giboney was only 57 when he died of colon cancer. Both educators, she and Terry would teach and counsel couples and parents together.

Giboney and her family were shocked when they first heard the diagnosis, since Terry was such a healthy person. Giboney said preparing for Terry’s death was extremely painful, and she especially hated that God was breaking up her team.

“I never particularly ‘felt sorry for myself,’ except I was so sorry that I had to live life without him,” Giboney said.

Life circumstances at the time of a death can also affect the grieving process, Horton said. Perhaps a person had just lost their job or was put on probation at school, or perhaps the person had experienced other recent deaths of people close to them. The stress can then become cumulative.

Wuensche lost three grandparents in the span of 14 months and said even though this past year has been really difficult for her and her family, they have become closer through it all.

Horton said the loss of a loved one can feel like a “wind blowing you far over,” and social support, positive self-talk and self-care — as well as other meaningful, practical processes — can help one start to find their way back.

Horton encourages those grieving to avoid telling themselves they’re supposed to be feeling a certain way or supposed to be at a certain “stage” in their grieving process.

Grief is already a heavy brick to carry, Horton said, and adding the weight of frustration, impatience or guilt over the speed or means of processing grief makes that already substantial burden even heavier.

How religion affects the grieving process

University Chaplain Sara Barton said in a community as large as Pepperdine, there is always someone going through grief. The Pepperdine community in particular has been in a state of grief since the Woolsey Fire and the loss of Alaina Housley in Fall 2018.

Barton said even though Pepperdine is a Christian university, multifaith understanding is important in her role. Barton emphasizes honoring the individual’s faith practices when memorializing them and serving the individual’s friends and family.

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When Barton ministers to Christians in mourning, she emphasizes that Jesus invites people to grieve.

“The Bible says that Jesus was a man of sorrows, and He was acquainted with grief; He wept for others,” Barton said. “And this is also important: He even wept for His own pain in the Garden of Gethsemane, and He cried out in lament on the cross, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ That is a call of grief.”

One of the common ways people cope is by relying on their faith. Mancuso said religious coping can have a positive or negative impact on a person.

Mancuso said one positive way to religiously cope is called benevolent religious reappraisal, which is when someone sees a situation in a new, more positive light because of their faith. For example, when someone loses a loved one, they might believe that through their pain they have gained a deeper relationship with God or God has made them stronger.

“Religious surrender — turning it over to God, doing what you can to put it in God’s hands, rather than to try to take control of that situation yourself — might actually be a very adaptive way of coping in that situation, a way of coming to peace,” Mancuso said.

Giboney said a blindly optimistic way of looking at life did not drive her faith in God, but rather a strength beyond herself.

“I could yell and scream at the Lord and He could take it; He understood that,” Giboney said.

Negative religious coping, also called spiritual struggle, is religious coping that can be harmful to the individual, Mancuso said. For example, a person might believe that God took away a person from their life as punishment for something they did.

“You can imagine how difficult or how stressful that belief is for someone,” Mancuso said. “That’s a negative way that people might cope with the grief experience or with their loss.”

It is important for Christian worship services to intentionally make space for grief and lament, Barton said. She thinks the Psalms in particular can guide church communities in fostering a place for all experiences of human life, including sadness, anger, fear, frustration and joy.

“We should realize that pretty much every time we ever gather, for any worship gathering, there are people present who are grieving,” Barton said.

The significance of mourning rituals

Mancuso said another part of religious coping is engaging in symbolic rituals that allow people to say goodbye to the dead.

Part of the psychological significance of engaging in these rituals is that they offer an experience that helps people think about the grieving process differently and connect with others.

In addition to a private family burial service, Giboney said they also had a memorial service at Pepperdine’s Firestone Fieldhouse where about 1,000 people attended.

“My husband said he wanted a celebration of life,” Giboney said. “And he said, Don’t drag the songs!’ He was a very funny man, but he wanted it to be a celebration and for people to be encouraged.”

Ari Schwarzberg, rabbi-in-residence at Pepperdine, said practices surrounding death are extremely meaningful in Judaism, in order to honor the dead and comfort those in mourning.

(Video) New to Grief workshop

Jews will tear their clothes when they hear of the loss of a close relative and engage in a seven-day mourning period called “shiva.” Schwarzberg said this is typically when the mourners, or close relatives, gather together in one home and welcome visitors.

“Our communities have tremendous emphasis around ensuring that the mourners are stable and are taken care of, providing meals for them, and, of course, people visiting them,” Schwarzberg said. “This is some of the great work that synagogues and our community organizations do. It’s really quite beautiful.”

How the COVID-19 pandemic altered grief

Barton wrote a Christianity Today article about how her personal grief over the loss of her mom was “deferred” when the Pepperdine community faced a mass shooting and the Woolsey wildfire two weeks after her mom died.

“Everything had changed because our whole community was now grieving, and my personal grief was put on hold as I cared for other people,” Barton said. “I think right now, a lot of people are having that experience — their grief is on hold in an unprecedented way.”

Barton said it seems the whole world is grieving because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“What is already a lonely journey is even more lonely,” Barton said. “Because many people haven’t been able to be with their loved ones, even in their last minutes of life due to hospital restrictions, and they haven’t been able to gather and mourn with family and with communities of faith.”

Harutyunyan said her family wanted her grandfather’s body to be at rest as soon as possible, but there was a long wait at the funeral home. They eventually held the funeral service outdoors March 18. Guests wore masks and socially distanced.

Mancuso said for many people, the inability to grieve or lean on the support of others in ways they expected can increase the feeling of pain.

“People feel like they’re being robbed twice,” Mancuso said. “They’re being robbed of their loved one, they have that loss, but then it’s a double loss because they can’t come together with others and grieve the way they normally would.”

People have been trying to simulate online or in contactless ways the physical support or presence they would normally give to the bereaved through delivering food and attending memorial services on Zoom. Mancuso said while these things are still meaningful, it’s not the same as being physically present with one another.

Barton said that although streaming funeral services is not the same, she has appreciated the creative ways people have mourned their loved ones. One friend’s family honored his mother by making Chinese dumplings. Another friend lost her husband and created an art exhibit of her spouse’s clothes. A group of friends planted a tree for a widow in her front yard in memory of her husband.

She and her family could not have in-person visitations due to COVID-19 guidelines, so they did a drive-by visitation.

“Everybody knew my Popo,” Wuensche said. “Literally the entire town drove by, and it was all people 60 and older — just through the car — telling my grandma how sorry they were and how much they loved him.”

Wuensche said they later held a funeral where she sang hymns and played guitar, and they livestreamed it so others could watch from home.

Both Barton and Wuensche said that as things reopen, it’s natural that people will want to celebrate, but that they should also remember some are still grieving.

The legacy loved ones leave behind

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Horton said the objects she received when her grandma and dad died have helped remind her of memories with them. She has her dad’s binoculars, which he would use to appreciate animals and nature, as well as her grandma’s mixing bowl from when they used to bake apple pies together when Horton was young.

People knew Horton’s grandpa, who also died, to be incredibly generous with his family and people around him, and Horton said he inspires her to go the extra mile like he did.

“I was blessed by his generosity, so how will I bless others?” Horton said. “Blessing for a blessing kind of idea. How will I pay it forward?”

Giboney said her husband’s legacy continues to bless her children, her grandchildren and many others who were touched by his life.

A couple weeks before he died, Terry told Giboney he left her a gift for their anniversary, which fell about four days after his death. He had given her a beautiful ring along with a note that read, “It sparkles like our marriage.”

Giboney also gathered all of the poems Terry wrote her throughout their relationship into a book, titling it “Love Letters in the Sand,” in memory of one of their first dates where they saw a movie with the same title.

Terry wrote a statement of his faith before he died, which Giboney keeps framed beside her bed. Giboney said it still comforts her to read it.

Giboney also lives out her husband’s legacy by continuing to teach the premarital class they taught together and be a part of the missions committee at their church, as she and Terry had served as missionaries together in Japan.

Harutyunyan said her grandpa was a hardworking man who brought his family from Armenia to America. Harutyunyan, her brother and her cousins all adopted their grandpa’s work ethic and never-give-up attitude.

“I’m working to be a better version of myself and trying to adapt these characteristics that my grandpa had,” Harutyunyan said. “Almost as if to try to fill the shoes that he left behind, someone who takes care of other people when they need it, be the caregiver and the one in charge, the one people can rely on.”

Harutyunyan is studying psychology and pre-med, and she said she looks forward to the day she becomes a doctor and has her last name — her grandpa’s name — sewn onto her white lab coat.

Wuensche’s grandfather immigrated to the United States from Germany. Wuensche said her grandpa had such genuine love for other people and was gifted in making others feel heard and valued.

“In his physical absence, I’ve definitely been paying more attention to how I can reflect his spirit in that way, and how I want to make people feel welcomed and be a person that fosters community because that was something that he was so actively engaged in every day,” Wuensche said.

Wuensche said what she has found comforting through this time is knowing that “this too shall pass,” even though that doesn’t mean the grieving process is going to be easy.

“The legacies of people that we love cannot be diminished by the power of a pandemic,” Wuensche said. “The strengths of people’s spirits are so much stronger than the grievances we experienced as a result of the sufferings of this world. And that’s just a truth to hold on to, regardless of religion, that this is a season, and it’s a very hard season, but seasons change and so do hearts in their processing of grief.”

Resources for support in the grieving process:

_______________________

(Video) We don't "move on" from grief. We move forward with it | Nora McInerny

Email Emily Shaw: Emily.c.shaw@pepperdine.edu

Follow Currents Magazine on Twitter: @PeppCurrents and Instagram: @currentsmagazine

FAQs

How does grief come in waves? ›

The smallest thing can trigger waves of grief. Seeing their stuff around or walking by a place full of memories can both trigger sadness, anxiety, or even a panic attack. It is important to know that this is normal, and triggers may be accompanied by other behaviors.

What are 3 things a person can do in order to help relieve the feelings of grief? ›

There are many ways to cope effectively with your pain.
  • Seek out caring people. Find relatives and friends who can understand your feelings of loss. ...
  • Take care of your health. ...
  • Accept that life is for the living. ...
  • Be patient. ...
  • Don't offer false comfort. ...
  • Offer practical help. ...
  • Be patient.

Is it 5 or 7 stages of grief? ›

The five stages, denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance are a part of the framework that makes up our learning to live with the one we lost. They are tools to help us frame and identify what we may be feeling. But they are not stops on some linear timeline in grief.

How do you stop crying after someone dies? ›

If you or someone you know has lost a loved one, the following tips may help you cope with the loss:
  1. Let yourself feel the pain and all the other emotions, too. ...
  2. Be patient with the process. ...
  3. Acknowledge your feelings, even the ones you don't like. ...
  4. Get support. ...
  5. Try to maintain your normal lifestyle. ...
  6. Take care of yourself.
May 10, 2019

How do you deal with a sad wave? ›

How to shake it off in the moment
  1. Talk to loved ones. Many of the symptoms associated with sadness or depression can prompt you to pull back from others rather than seek emotional support. ...
  2. Add a little humor. ...
  3. Listen to music. ...
  4. Do something you enjoy. ...
  5. Spend some time in the sun.
Feb 24, 2021

What does it mean when you keep thinking about someone who passed away? ›

Obsessive thoughts of death can come from anxiety as well as depression. They might include worrying that you or someone you love will die. These intrusive thoughts can start out as harmless passing thoughts, but we become fixated on them because they scare us.

Which is the best way to handle your own grief after loss? ›

Tips to cope with reawakened grief
  1. Be prepared. Anniversary reactions are normal. ...
  2. Plan a distraction. ...
  3. Reminisce about your relationship. ...
  4. Start a new tradition. ...
  5. Connect with others. ...
  6. Allow yourself to feel a range of emotions.

Is it normal to want to be alone when grieving? ›

In grief, we need the stillness of alone time to feel our feelings and think our thoughts. To slow down and turn inward, we must sometimes actively cultivate solitude. Being alone is not the curse we may have been making it out to be. It is actually a blessing.

What is the hardest stage of grief? ›

Depression is usually the longest and most difficult stage of grief.

What are the 12 steps of grief? ›

12 Steps in Grief Process
  • RECOVER FROM A LOVED ONE'S DEATH REQUIRES MORE THAN TIME. ...
  • GRIEF IS UNIVERSAL - GRIEVERS ARE DISTINCTIVE. ...
  • SHOCK INITIATES US INTO MOURNING. ...
  • GRIEF CAUSES DEPRESSION. ...
  • GRIEF IS HAZARDOUS TO OUR HEALTH. ...
  • GRIEVERS NEED TO KNOW THEY'RE NORMAL. ...
  • GRIEVERS SUFFER GUILT FEELINGS. ...
  • GRIEF MAKES PEOPLE ANGRY.

What are the 7 emotional stages of trauma? ›

Persistent, traumatic grief can cause us to cycle (sometimes quickly) through the stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance. These stages are our attempts to process change and protect ourselves while we adapt to a new reality.

How long does grief last? ›

There is no timeline for how long grief lasts, or how you should feel after a particular time. After 12 months it may still feel as if everything happened yesterday, or it may feel like it all happened a lifetime ago. These are some of the feelings you might have when you are coping with grief longer-term.

Why do we get angry when someone dies? ›

Many people do in fact feel angry when someone we love dies. Angry at being abandoned, angry at the extent of the pain, angry that our life is changed, angry that managing grief feels difficult, and angry that the world suddenly feels different—empty, unsafe, or lonely. Swallowed feelings don't disappear.

What are signs from deceased loved ones? ›

Common Signs
  • Dream Visitations. One of the most commonly described signs from the other side is a visitation from a departed loved one in the form of a dream. ...
  • Familiar Sensations or Smells. ...
  • Animal Messengers. ...
  • Pennies and Dimes. ...
  • Lost and Found Objects. ...
  • Electrical Disturbances.

Why we should not cry when someone dies? ›

People often tell grievers that they “need to let their emotions out” by crying, which sets up the expectation that they would feel better if only their tears would flow. As a result, those who can't cry may worry they don't have access to a necessary emotional release valve.

What will happen after death? ›

When we die, our spirit and body separate. Even though our body dies, our spirit—which is the essence of who we are—lives on. Our spirit goes to the spirit world. The spirit world is a waiting period until we receive the gift of resurrection, when our spirits will reunite with our bodies.

How do you heal deep sadness? ›

Here are some ways to experience normal sadness in healthy ways and to allow this emotion to enrich your life:
  1. Allow yourself to be sad. ...
  2. Write in a journal, listen to music, spend time with friends or family, and/or draw to express the emotion sadness.
  3. Think about the context of the sad feelings.
Oct 9, 2019

How do you cry emotional release? ›

If you really need the release but can't seem to make it happen, here are a few tips from experts to get the waterworks going.
  1. Avoid Blinking. One of the easiest ways to make yourself cry is by not blinking. ...
  2. Engage In Breathwork. ...
  3. Go For A Walk. ...
  4. Listen To Music. ...
  5. Move Your Body. ...
  6. Read A Sad Story. ...
  7. Take A Shower. ...
  8. Talk To Someone.
May 26, 2022

What does it mean when a loved one visits you in a dream? ›

Visitation dreams are sometimes a welcome respite from longing or yearning for your loved one who has died. Whether you believe these dreams are real, from the divine, or something straight out of science-fiction - a visit from the afterlife can be healing to your soul.

Can you feel when death is coming? ›

What are the signs that death is near? Someone who is very close to death will likely refuse food and water. Their breathing and heart rates will slow and/or be abnormal and their hands, arms, feet, or legs may be cool to the touch. They may also be agitated, anxious, and confused.

Where does the soul go after it leaves the body? ›

“Good and contented souls” are instructed “to depart to the mercy of God.” They leave the body, “flowing as easily as a drop from a waterskin”; are wrapped by angels in a perfumed shroud, and are taken to the “seventh heaven,” where the record is kept.

Should I be there when my parent dies? ›

Young children do not need to be there when a parent actually dies, but it's important for them to stay in their home where they feel the most secure. It may be tempting to have a child stay with another relative during this time, but that can create other problems for the child.

What to do after parent dies? ›

What to Do When a Parent Dies
  1. Get a pronouncement of death. ...
  2. Contact your parent's friends and family. ...
  3. Secure your parent's home. ...
  4. Make funeral and burial plans. ...
  5. Get copies of the death certificate. ...
  6. Locate life insurance policies. ...
  7. Locate the will and start the probate process. ...
  8. Take inventory of assets and financial accounts.
Jun 9, 2022

How does the death of a spouse affect a person? ›

The grief of losing a spouse or partner affects not just emotional and mental health, but physical health as well. Numerous studies show that the surviving spouse or partner is likely to develop health problems in the weeks and months that follow.

What happens to the brain during grief? ›

Your brain is on overload with thoughts of grief, sadness, loneliness and many other feelings. Grief Brain affects your memory, concentration, and cognition. Your brain is focused on the feelings and symptoms of grief which leaves little room for your everyday tasks. and recognize it as a step towards healing.

Can a person grieve themselves to death? ›

While the stress of grief may bring on general health impacts, there is a legitimate and specific medical condition called "taktsubo cardiomyopathy" — or heartbreak syndrome — that doctors say is dying of a broken heart. But it's incredibly rare.

What stage of grief is loneliness? ›

Depression: Sadness sets in as you begin to understand the loss and its effect on your life. Signs of depression include crying, sleep issues, and a decreased appetite. You may feel overwhelmed, regretful, and lonely. Acceptance: In this final stage of grief, you accept the reality of your loss.

Does grief have a smell? ›

A scent of grief

The sense of smell is closely linked to memory, so it's not surprising that it can trigger grief in some people. Janet Bowd-Cowin has experienced this recently, saying: "Mum loved the scent of lavender and I always found lovely soaps for her. Now the scent makes me cry."

What does the anger stage of grief look like? ›

During the anger stage of grief, you might start asking questions like “Why me?” or “What did I do to deserve this?” You could also feel suddenly angry at inanimate objects, strangers, friends, or family members. You might feel angry at life itself.

How do you survive the death of a spouse? ›

Let major decisions wait, if possible.
  1. Take care of yourself. Grief can be hard on your health. ...
  2. Try to eat right. Some widowed people lose interest in cooking and eating. ...
  3. Talk with caring friends. ...
  4. Visit with members of your religious community. ...
  5. See your doctor.

Where do you hold trauma in your body? ›

The bottom line

However, it's the limbic structures of the brain where emotional processing occurs. While some areas of your body undoubtedly hold tension or may be associated with an emotional experience, ultimately it's the brain that's reconstructing the emotion.

What is betrayal trauma? ›

From Freyd (2008): Betrayal trauma occurs when the people or institutions on which a person depends for survival significantly violate that person' s trust or well-being: Childhood physical, emotional, or sexual abuse perpetrated by a caregiver are examples of betrayal trauma.

What does dying peacefully mean? ›

'Peaceful' refers to the dying person having finished all business and made peace with others before his/her death and implies being at peace with his/her own death. It further refers to the manner of dying: not by violence, an accident or a fearsome disease, not by foul means and without much pain.

How can I stop thinking about death and enjoying life? ›

Let's look at three things you can do to help yourself.
  1. Climb down from the what-if tree and live in the moment. ...
  2. Don't shut down conversations about death. ...
  3. Prioritize self-care. ...
  4. Understand that worry is your brain's way of trying to feel safe and in control. ...
  5. Understand that thoughts are just stories your brain tells you.
Apr 9, 2021

How long does it take to get over the death of a parent? ›

You feel the most of your grief within the first 6 months after a loss. It's normal to have a tough time for the first year, Schiff says. After then, you often accept your parent's death and move on. But the grief may bubble up, especially on holidays and birthdays.

What is a grief burst? ›

A grief burst is a burst of sadness and sorrow which may be triggered by a variety of things (a song, a picture, seeing someone doing an activity you did with your loved one, a memory, etc.).

How long does deep grief last? ›

There is no set timetable for grief. You may start to feel better in 6 to 8 weeks, but the whole process can last from months to years. You may start to feel better in small ways. It will start to get a little easier to get up in the morning, or maybe you'll have more energy.

Why does grief keep coming back? ›

Feelings of grief might return on the anniversary of your loved one's death or other special days throughout the year. These feelings, sometimes called an anniversary reaction, aren't necessarily a setback in the grieving process. They're a reflection that your loved one's life was important to you.

What does grief feel like in the body? ›

Body Aches and Pains

Grief can cause back pain, joint pain, headaches, and stiffness. The pain is caused by the overwhelming amount of stress hormones being released during the grieving process. These effectively stun the muscles they contact. Stress hormones act on the body in a similar way to broken heart syndrome.

Does grief get harder? ›

During the first few months after a loss, many signs and symptoms of normal grief are the same as those of complicated grief. However, while normal grief symptoms gradually start to fade over time, those of complicated grief linger or get worse.

Can grief make you dizzy? ›

The Normal Physical and Mental Symptoms of Grief

Dizziness and shortness of breath; tightening in the throat or chest. A weakened immune system, making illness and infection more likely.

Can grief hit you months later? ›

Delayed grief is an experience of feeling deep sorrow, long after experiencing the death of someone you are close with. It is when our emotional reaction to loss doesn't happen right away. Somehow the reaction is postponed. Pushed off for months, years, or even decades.

What is the hardest stage of grief? ›

Depression is usually the longest and most difficult stage of grief.

What does the Bible say about grief? ›

Psalm 34:18 “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” Psalm 73:26 “My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion forever.” Matthew 5:4 “Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.”

What will happen after death? ›

When we die, our spirit and body separate. Even though our body dies, our spirit—which is the essence of who we are—lives on. Our spirit goes to the spirit world. The spirit world is a waiting period until we receive the gift of resurrection, when our spirits will reunite with our bodies.

What are signs from deceased loved ones? ›

Common Signs
  • Dream Visitations. One of the most commonly described signs from the other side is a visitation from a departed loved one in the form of a dream. ...
  • Familiar Sensations or Smells. ...
  • Animal Messengers. ...
  • Pennies and Dimes. ...
  • Lost and Found Objects. ...
  • Electrical Disturbances.

Can grief change your personality? ›

Profound grief can change a person's psychology and personality forever. The initial changes that occur immediately after suffering a significant loss may go unnoticed for several weeks or months after the death of a loved one or other traumatic experience.

Can someone grieve themselves to death? ›

Summary: Grief can cause inflammation that can kill, according to new research. Grief can cause inflammation that can kill, according to new research from Rice University. The study, "Grief, Depressive Symptoms and Inflammation in the Spousally Bereaved," will appear in an upcoming edition of Psychoneuroendocrinology.

Where is grief stored in the body? ›

When an emotion is not fully processed, it may become “stuck” in the body. However, it's the limbic structures of the brain where emotional processing occurs.

Where does the body hold grief? ›

The heartbreak of grief can increase blood pressure and the risk of blood clots. Intense grief can alter the heart muscle so much that it causes "broken heart syndrome," a form of heart disease with the same symptoms as a heart attack. Stress links the emotional and physical aspects of grief.

What is the most important factor in healing from the loss of a loved one? ›

One of the most important parts of the grieving and healing processes is acceptance. Accept that the wide range of emotions you may feel throughout this process—from shock, to sadness, anger, and hopelessness—are valid.

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