Life after Loss.
Meaning and Purpose after losing a loved one.
You are the only one that understands.
When it comes to losing a loved one, you are the only one that understands. Others may try to find words of comfort and encouragement, but try as they may more often than not, their words ring hollow. Not because they don’t mean well, but because you are the only one that truly understands what just happened, to you. And that is alright. Grief is real. There is no time frame or time limit on grief. Not everyone experiences grief the same way.
For decades, there were five commonly accepted stages of grief.
Since then, research has given us a clearer understanding.
Grief and loss are not necessarily a linear journey through clearly defined stages. Instead, it often resembles a roller coaster that is standing on top of a tilt-a-whirl. It has highs and lows, twists and turns, and sometimes seems like the ride will never end. In cases of chronic illness, a caregiver may experience multiple losses as the disease progresses. The grieving process can seem continual and last for years. And that’s OK.
Grief and loss have powerful emotional and physical effects.
Grief and loss have both emotional and physical effects on the body. They can increase inflammation, raise your blood pressure, or even cause something called broken heart syndrome. Broken heart syndrome can mimic the signs of a heart attack, shortness of breath, chest pain, and even electrocardiogram abnormalities. For more information about broken heart syndrome, click here: https://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/takotsubo-cardiomyopathy-broken-heart-syndrome.
Grief and loss can take a physical toll on your brain.
There are emotional and neurological factors that can change the way you feel and think. People experiencing grief and loss, especially caregivers, may have difficulty making decisions, may be forgetful, have poor sleep, and may have mood swings. Excellent descriptions and resources are available at this link: https://www.brainandlife.org/articles/sadness-at-the-death-of-a-family-member-has-both/
It is OK to acknowledge loss. That grieving is OK.
It is extremely important to acknowledge and deal with grief and loss. One of the most difficult challenges is acknowledging grief and loss when the person you are grieving still is alive, a common occurrence when dementia is involved. It is important to reach out for help. Your primary care physician, your loved one’s neurologist, a therapist/psychologist/psychiatrist, or support groups are excellent resources. If you need help finding a mental health professional, check out this link: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/therapists. For support groups, click here: https://www.alz.org/help-support/community/support-groups .
And, perhaps most importantly, if you or someone you know seems to be experiencing grief and or loss, get help! Help is available, but sometimes the person in the middle of grief can’t reach out. Those surrounding the people who are grieving should not be afraid of reaching out on their behalf.
Real people. Ready to listen.
Happy to be of service, to you.
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