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End of Life Issues Understanding Grief If you are reading this section of the Elder Care Guide, it is likely that you recently experienced a loss or feel you will soon. We know this is a difficult time for you and we hope the information you find here will help you get through this period. This Section Includes: • Frequently Asked Questions About Grief • How To Help A Grieving Person Do People Grieve The Same? While many aspects of grieving are universal, (feelings of sadness, numbness, confusion, depression), there is no single prescribed way to grieve. Grieving is an individual endeavor. Some want to have many people around with whom they can share and explore their feelings. Others prefer to deal with loss more privately. Most people report that grieving is much like being on an emotional roller coaster. Do Men and Women Grieve Differently? The cultural stereotypes of women and men in grief are inaccurate. Generally, they portray women as being expressive with their grief while men are the “strong and silent” type. The reality is that some men need and want to express and share their feelings, while some women prefer to do their grief work in a more low-key way. What Helps Grieving? • Seek out supportive people. Find a relative, friend, neighbor or spiritual leader who will listen non-judgmentally and provide you with support as you sort your way through grief. • Join a support group. Being with others who have had a similar loss is therapeutic. Express your feelings. Do this by confiding in a trusted friend or by writing in a journal. FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT GRIEF by Victor Parachin How Long Does Grief Last? Because every griever is a unique personality, there is no single answer to this question. In most cases, the pain associated with grieving begins to subside considerably in the second and third years following loss. The heavy, depressive feelings in earlier months begin to break up with more hopeful optimistic feelings. What Are The Signs of Grief? On the emotional level, the bereaved experience some of the following: disbelief, shock, numbness, denial, sadness, anxiety, guilt, depression, anger, loneliness or frustration. The physical symptoms of grief include tightness of the chest or throat, pain in the heart area, panic attacks, dizziness or trembling. Grievers also report sleep disturbance, as in either too much or not enough sleeping. Will I Ever Stop Crying? Even though it may be difficult to believe, the tears will come to an end. This will not happen abruptly but gradually, and even after the intense crying ceases, there may be times when hearing a song or seeing a place can bring a moment of sadness along with a tear. Grieving www.PolkElderCare.com 71


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