WHAT IS GRIEF?
WHAT DOES GRIEF FEEL LIKE?
Grief can feel like many things. Just after a death has occurred, it is very common for you to feel numb and as if you were in shock. This is how your body instinctively reacts to pain. You may experience some of the following physical sensations:
Tightness in the chest or throat, difficulty breathing, irritability to noise, the feeling that nothing is real, muscle weakness, lack of energy, dry mouth, or trouble sleeping and eating.
This is a good time to check with your own physician, especially if any of these conditions seem overwhelming or persist.
You may also find yourself searching for your loved one. The forms of searching may range from dreams that seem as real as life, all the way to hallucinations caused by familiar sounds, smells, and sights. These may come when you least expect them, causing you to be caught off-guard and unprepared. This searching is normal, and is an important part of adjusting to your loss.
Part of the healing process involves a period of intense emotions. You must allow yourself to experience these emotions.
Anger is a common emotion following a death. You may find yourself angry at a situation, at a person in particular, or just angry in general. You will often find that you take out this anger on those closest around you. You cannot choose to be angry, but you can choose how to express it. Try holding an imaginary conversation with the person with whom you are angry, or write them a letter that only you need to see.
What is making you angry with this person? Talk or write out all of your feeling about that person or situation. Understanding your anger is the first step towards dealing with it. Hit a pillow, kick a bed, play tennis, or scream if it makes you feel better! The experts claim that exercise is an excellent stress reliever.
Whether rational or not, appropriate or not, almost everyone experiences guilt. Guilt can be triggered by almost anything, but usually comes under the heading of ..."I could have, I should have, I wish I would have...".
Acknowledge guilt, by looking at each situation - write it down if you need to. If you feel your guilt is warranted, write an apology - even if you are the only one who will ever read it. Learn from your mistakes and move on.
Sometimes feelings of numbness and shock go on longer than the first few weeks. Although it is common to experience some of these earlier symptoms from time to time, it is not a good sign to have these symptoms constantly.
Be sure to have at least one person with whom you can discuss your feelings. Even better, join a bereavement group. Talk to your doctor about how you feel, and perhaps seek a counselor for further treatment. Call a crisis hotline if you ever feel that you may consider suicide.
WHEN WILL I FEEL LIKE I HAVE HEALED?
Although it does not seem possible now, there will come a time in the future when you can think about your loved one with fond memories, and without any feelings of guilt, anger, or sadness. You will find that you have established new goals for yourself and a new pattern of life. This will come.
You must just allow yourself time and give yourself permission to experience bereavement in its entirety.
TAKE SPIRITUAL ACTION
Many times people feel guilty because they feel they did not help their loves ones enough, or did not do enough to help them, or have regrets that they did not tell them how much they loved them. For these and/or other reasons, people frequently "want to do something" to help the deceased. Fortunately, for Catholics, our Faith teaches us that, yes, we can do some things for our loved ones who have crossed over to prove to them how much we miss them, how much we really love them - even now, and that we are trying to make up for whatever faults or failing we may have had in our dealings with them in this life.
What can we do? We can pray for our loved ones. We can gain plenary indulgences and apply them to our loved ones. We can have Masses offered for our loved ones. We can read books about Purgatory to motivate ourselves to continue to pray for them becasue the wise and prudent path is to assume that one's loves ones are in Purgatory, not in Heaven. Why? So that we are motivated to pray for them, to gain plenary indulgences for them, and to have Masses offered for them so we can do our part to get them released from Purgatory as soon as possible so that they can enter Heaven sooner, rather than later.
May God the Holy Ghost comfort you and may you become a comfort to your family members who are also in grief and going through many of the same things through which you are going! Pray to God the Holy Ghost to comfort all of your loved ones who, like you, are in deep sorrow and grief.
But also try to focus on the happiness of Heaven and doing whatever you can do for those who have crossed over. Take action NOW to try to make up for what you wished you would have done for them in the past.
The past is gone, but you have today to help them!
Think of the great joy and peace of mind, heart and soul you can get by using all of the Spiritual means of the Catholic Church to help get your loved ones to Heaven as fast as possible!
"But, as it is written: That eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man, what things God hath prepared for them that love him" (1 Corinthians 2:9)
"And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes: and death shall be no more, nor mourning, nor crying, nor sorrow shall be any more, for the former things are passed away" (Apocalyse 21:4).
God bless you!
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“Now the God of Hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing; that you may abound in Hope, and in the power of the Holy Ghost” (Romans 15:13).
“Charity is patient, is kind: Charity...beareth all things, Believeth all things, Hopeth all things, endureth all things” (1 Corinthians 13:4, 7).
“Now Faith is the substance of things to be Hoped for, the evidence of things that appear not” (Hebrews 11:1).
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