Normal Grief

Normal or common grief begins soon after a loss and symptoms go away over time. During normal grief, the bereaved person moves toward accepting the loss and is able to continue normal day-to-day life even though it is hard to do. Common grief reactions include things like emotional numbness, shock, disbelief, or denial. When this occurs, the individual may feel like they’re not thinking clearly or feel like they’re in a dream-like state. Another reaction usually includes anxiety over being separated from the loved one. The bereaved may wish to bring the person back and become lost in thoughts of the deceased. Additionally, images of death may occur often in the person’s everyday thoughts and it’s not uncommon to feel extremely occupied by the loss. One of the most difficult aspects of loss is the distress that leads to crying; sighing; having dreams, illusions, and hallucinations of the deceased; and looking for places or things that were shared with the deceased. Individuals in grief sometimes feel like they see the person they lost out in public…or may feel like there are constant reminders of the loss no matter where they go. Anger is also a common reaction to loss. Depending on the type of loss, the individual in bereavement may feel their anger is irrational – but it’s not. The person may feel angry at themselves, at the deceased, or at various aspects of the loss. This is common! And finally, there will be periods of sadness, loss of sleep, loss of appetite, extreme tiredness, guilt, and loss of interest in life. Day-to-day living may be affected. In normal grief, symptoms will occur less often and will feel less severe as time passes. Recovery does not happen in a set period of time. For most bereaved people having normal grief, symptoms lessen between 6 months and 2 years after the loss.