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Handling the Grief with Advanced Illnesses

When it comes to the passing of someone we cared for, the grieving process can be an overwhelming amount of emotions – anger, sadness, frustration, fear, etc. When we realize either for ourselves or for the one’s we care about that the end of life is approaching, it is easier to want to avoid these feelings rather than confronting them. An article by Psychology Today states, “Our coping mechanisms, cultural norms, support system as well as the circumstances of the death and our relationship with the deceased person may all play a role in how we react to a significant loss.”

For some people these emotions can help them come to a better understanding with the “good” that can come from losing someone, an example being the loss of someone who had been suffering intensely or for quite some time. It can bring a person some relief to know their loved one is no longer suffering. It can also bring an individual to a greater appreciation for the things around them that they wouldn’t have noticed before, whether that be the people in their life or things they haven’t noticed to appreciate before. Life is short, and it is in our nature to look forward to better times ahead. “Confronting death need not result in despair that strips away all purpose in life. On the contrary, it can be an awakening experience to a fuller life,” said Irvin D. Yalom.

Grieving a loved one is very difficult and losing someone so important to you can cause some negative affects to an individual’s state of mind. Some can grow into an anger of losing someone too soon, especially to an advanced illness. They can begin questioning of “Why do bad things happen to good people?.” In Psychology Today they have shared a finding made by psychologist John Bowlby that “Neurophysiological processes that produce changes in our behavior and cognition can be prolonged or amplified in the face of complicated or unresolved grief. The symptoms that arise during complicated grief reactions can be so severe that they may even resemble those experienced with major depressive disorder (MDD), anxiety disorder or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).” Confronting these emotions and receiving help from a professional grief counselor or therapist is highly suggested when trying to help someone with unresolved and complicated grief. There’s a natural reaction to want to help ease someone’s pain. Grieving is not black and white, and everyone grieves differently. It’s the matter of fact of working with an individual in their own way to try to bring them as much comfort as one can get when it comes to bereavement.

Helpful links:

Grief is a complicated and long term process that doesn’t have a simple solution. Become a member of The American Academy of Bereavement today to find more resources on grief and its many facets.

Dealing With Long Term Grief

Grieving is a natural response to loss, whether this loss be the death of a loved one, the ending of an important or meaningful relationship, losing a job, losing important items through theft or through disability with losing one’s independence.The different stages of grief include the following: Denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Although there […] Continue reading →

Death of an Estranged Parent

There are many articles on parents with estranged adult children.  This article however will touch on adult children with estranged parents. When people hear about the loss or the impending loss of an estranged parent some people feel shocked and unprepared to experience the range of emotions of grief.  They may struggle with a wide […] Continue reading →

Surviving the Death of a Sibling

The Surviving Adult and Sibling Grief Sibling relationships are so complex because while growing up, siblings are both friends and enemies, teammates and competitors. People both play and fight with siblings. As children naturally seek security, attention, and love from parents, it is only normal to perceive brothers and sisters as competitors for these precious […] Continue reading →

Emotional Support Animals

Animals have proven to be able to assist people in overcoming grief, which has led to a recent rise in the use of therapy animals; although animal-assisted therapy theory has been around since World War II. Emotional Support Animal vs Working Service Animal An Emotional Support Animal (ESA) or Comfort Animal is an animal that, by its […] Continue reading →

Impact of Substance Abuse and Addiction on Families

Many substance abusers and addicts believe that the only one they are hurting is themselves.  Though substance abuse and addiction heavily impacts the life of the abuser, it also negatively affects the lives of everyone around them, especially close friends, family, and children.  Significant family conflict develops if the abuser or addict is stealing goods […] Continue reading →

Life After Paralysis Diagnosis

It can be easier to find articles and resources for how to cope with a paralysis diagnosis than it is to find ones on how the diagnosis affects the lives of the friends and family of someone that is paralyzed.  It is incredibly difficult to watch someone you love go from being active and healthy, to struggling to find themselves with […] Continue reading →