DEATH AND GRIEF

Grief is a reaction to loss, but it's also the name we give to the process of coping with the loss of someone who has died. Grief is a healthy process of feeling comforted, coming to terms with a loss, and finding ways to adapt.

Getting over grief doesn't mean forgetting about a person who has died. Healthy grief is about finding ways to remember loved ones and adjust to life without them present.

People often experience grief reactions in "waves" that come and go. Often, grief is most intense soon after someone has died. But some people don't feel their grief right away. They may feel numbness, shock, or disbelief. It can take time for the reality to sink in that the person is gone.

Teens grieve deeply but often work very hard to hide their feelings. Fearing the vulnerability that comes with expression, they look for distractions rather than stay with the grief process long enough to find real relief. Feelings can be turned off quickly, much like flipping a light switch. Teens can act as if nothing has happened while they are breaking up inside. You may observe teens who take on the role of caregiver to family members or friends, in effect denying their own grief.

Gender makes no distinctions when it comes to experiencing grief, but the outward signs may be different. Young men of this age may have a particularly hard time when they have been taught that showing emotion is something that girls do – but macho guys don’t.

People might notice or show grief in several ways:

  • Physical reactions: These might be things like changes in appetite or sleep, an upset stomach, tight chest, crying, tense muscles, trouble relaxing, low energy, restlessness, or trouble concentrating.
  • Frequent thoughts: These may be happy memories of the person who died, worries or regrets, or thoughts of what life will be like without the person.
  • Strong emotions: For example, sadness, anger, guilt, despair, relief, love, or hope.
  • Spiritual reactions: This might mean finding strength in faith, questioning religious beliefs, or discovering spiritual meaning and connect
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