Emotional Reactions to Grief

“No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear. I am not afraid, but the sensation is like being afraid. The same fluttering in the stomach, the same restlessness, the yawning. I keep on swallowing.”

—C. S. Lewis

After the loss of a loved one, grieving takes a toll on your heart. Memories may trigger outbursts of emotion, sometimes when you may least expect it. Intense emotions can come on unexpectedly and persist. These may include shock, numbness, disorientation, sadness, anger, despair, guilt and emptiness.

Emotions are likely to fluctuate over time and even within a given day. You may feel emotions that are confusing or contradictory to one another. For example, following a prolonged illness and death, the survivors may feel at peace or even relieved. Feeling these emotions during a time of grief is also normal. It is normal not to want a loved one to suffer. It is normal to be relieved that their time of suffering is over.

It is important for you to find a safe environment of friends, family and community that welcomes any and all emotions as they arise. It is important that you recognize such feelings are but one way to process the death of a loved one.

Learn more about Carroll Hospice’s bereavement resources or call 410-871-8000.

Jill Englar, L.C.S.W.-C., is the director of Support Services at Carroll Hospice.


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