After the Shock

The day goes by like a shadow o'er the heart,
With sorrow, where all was delight.
Stephen Foster

Many people believe that the initial shock and numbness following the death of a loved one constitutes the entire grief process, but this is only the start. As the reality of the death sinks in, shock and disbelief give way to growing awareness. With awareness, the real pain of grieving begins.

As we allow ourselves the time and space to grieve, we gain perspective on the loss. Suppression of emotions may prolong grief in some, but not everyone heals through open expression of feelings. We each must find our own way to grieve. With time, we adapt to life without our loved one.

Immediately after the death of a loved one, however, it seems like nothing will make us feel better. Acute grief feels like it will last forever and will erode us with pain in the process. They say that time heals, but in the midst of grief, we wonder how it will ever become less intense.

This is why it is important to consider support from others we trust. People who care about us want to help us feel better, but they may be unsure of how to act or what to say. Attempts to help may or may not work. Click
All the Wrong Places for the risks of sharing the pain of grief with strangers.

For a look at the well-meaning, but unhelpful, comments people make to the newly bereaved, visit
Good Intentions, Unhelpful Remarks.

Emotional, spiritual and physical support can come from anywhere, but sometimes in the midst of our grief, it may be difficult to ask for the support we need, or we may be unable to accept help when it is offered. Isolation from friends and family can intensify the pain. Refer to
An Act of Courage for information on grief support programs.

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I read and respond to email at the end of each month when I update this site. If you need a more timely response, please visit a well moderated grief healing discussion group. It is free to use and requires registration to participate. I am not part of this group, but certified grief counselors are there to help, support and comfort grievers and those who love them. Because the counselors lost funding for the site, they are grateful for voluntary donations.  
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How complicated and individual mending is, the time required for healing
cannot be measured against any fixed calendar
. Mary Jane Moffat
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