Understanding Grief

At some point in our lives, we all have to face the reality of losing a friend or family member to death. The idea of losing someone we love can make even the most stoic people feel uncomfortable, confused, and afraid. During the first few days after a death, you are surrounded by family and friends. You are busy planning the funeral and may not have time to think about yourself until later when you are alone with your grief.

After the funeral, it is completely normal to experience a wide range of emotions. Grieving is hard work, and you may feel tired and lethargic without understanding why. Lighten your schedule if you can, eat healthy foods and exercise to renew your energy. Take time to be alone with your thoughts, but also spend time talking to close friends about your loss. You need to express your emotions. Roper and Sons offers a variety of aftercare services to support your needs during this time.

According to research, some or all of the following emotions emerge throughout the course of a normal grieving process:

Shock and surprise – People are rarely prepared for someone’s death. In fact, the reality of death may not occur to a person for a number of days afterward.


Emotional release –The healthy release of tension and other emotions usually occur at the funeral or with family and friends, but this is only the beginning of the grieving process. 


Physical distress and anxiety –During some more advanced stages of the grieving process, a person may feel so lonesome that he or she appears to develop symptoms of physical distress. 


Loneliness –After the funeral, when family and friends have gone home, feelings of emptiness, isolation, and depression may occur. 


Panic – It may become difficult to concentrate because of constant memories of the deceased. In fact, this may cause a person to worry about his or her own stability. Not knowing what is happening or what to do can result in panic and weakened self-esteem.


Guilt – Oftentimes survivors of the deceased dwell on the things they could have done differently and may even feel responsible for the person’s death.


Hostility and projection –This is one of the most difficult stages for relatives and friends because the survivor suddenly becomes hostile to those whom he or she thinks could have helped prevent the death. Family and friends should be tolerant and non-defensive.


Fatigue –It is normal to feel tired and lethargic, or even exhausted. Being more active is part of the answer, even if you just go for a brief walk.


Gradual overcoming of grief – Through the affection and encouragement of friends and family, gradually a new meaning of life unfolds. 


Readjustment to reality – Recalling the deceased becomes a pleasant experience and planning for the future becomes more realistic. 


If you, a family member, or friend are experiencing any of these symptoms, realize they are all part of the normal, healthy, and absolutely necessary process of grieving. However, if you are feeling overwhelmed and would like some information about grief support, please contact us at 402-476-1225.