HowardLunche.com

Dedicated to Understanding Grief

Howard Lunche, MSW, LCSW

COMMON GRIEF REACTIONS

The symptoms below are expected during bereavement. Each person will experience a unique blend of some or all of the symptoms and perhaps some that are not listed.

PHYSICAL


• Pain
• Fatigue, exhaustion, low energy
• Sleep disruption
• Appetite disruption
• Shortness of breath
• Tight or heavy feeling in chest
• Feeling of tightness in throat
• Hollow feeling in stomach
• Stomach pain and upset
• Heartache, broken heart
• Dry mouth
• Tension
• Restlessness, irritability
• Increased sensitivity to stimuli
• “Grief Attacks”
• “Sympathy pains”

 

 

 

SOCIAL


• Being isolated by others
• Withdrawing from social
  activities
• Diminished desire for
  conversation
• Being “widowed”, “single,” etc.
• Hide grief to “take care of others”
• Lose friends, make new friends
• Redefining onesel

  EMOTIONAL


• Shock, numbness
• Emptiness
• Sadness
• Sorrow for the one who died
• Loneliness, longing, yearning
• Anger
• Guilt, regret
• Resentment
• “More I should have done”
• Fear, anxiety, insecurity
• Feeling helpless, out of control
• Diminished self-concern
• “Don’t care,” “what does it
  matter”
• Depression
• Desire to join the deceased
• Suicidal feelings
• Feelings of betrayal, disloyalty
• “Emotional roller coaster”
• Relief

 

BEHAVIORS


• Crying (sometimes unexpectedly)
• Searching for the deceased
• Carrying special objects
• Going to gravesite
• Making and keeping an altar
• Keeping belongings intact
• Looking at photos or videos
• Listening to recordings
• Talking to the deceased
• Avoiding situations that arouse
  grief
• Changes in daily routine
• “Staying busy”
• Assuming mannerisms of the
  deceased

  MENTAL


• Disbelief
• Confusion
• Disorientation
• Absentmindedness
• Forgetfulness
• Poor Concentration
• Distraction
• Difficulty focusing and attending
• Low Motivation
• Expecting to see the deceased
• Expecting the deceased to call
• Preoccupation with the deceased
• Need to tell and retell story
• Dreams or images of the
deceased
• Denial
• Thinking about other deaths and
  losses

 

 

SPIRITUAL


• Questions about God:
• Why would God allow this?
• Questions about the deceased
• Where are they now?
• Are they okay?
• Can they see me?
• Will I see them again?
• What will happen when I die?
• Sensing the deceased’s presence
• Hearing, smelling, or seeing the
  deceased
• Death affirms or challenges
  beliefs
• Awe, wonder, mystery
• Continuing relationship with the
  deceased