As the season turns to fall, the changing leaves and chill in the air can be a reminder that life is in a constant cycle of change that includes both new life as well as death. At Krause Funeral Homes, we have observed that the grief journey is also very cyclical as you experience one emotion, then another, and perhaps back again to the first. Of course, losing a loved one can be overwhelming, and it can take a very long time for you to begin to feel rejuvenated again. Your winter of sadness, despair, loneliness, and even anger or guilt are common and normal as you experience grief over your loss. But you may also feel bursts of summer warmth – perhaps in the face of your grandchild or during a moment of laughter with a friend.
One thing we hear from the families we serve is that their feelings of grief can change from day to day, and you need to know that is okay. Feeling sad is normal, but so is feeling happy. You should never feel guilty or disloyal by experiencing times of joy. Your loved one would want you to have those moments.
While the Krause team has seen firsthand how individual and unique each grief experience is, it is important to educate yourself about some of the more common grief responses. That way, when they occur, you can recognize them for what they are.
Feelings of isolation: You may feel like you are the only one who is experiencing grief in the way that you do, or that others don’t really understand what you are going through. You may not have the energy to talk to others or greet visitors.
Feelings of frustration: You may feel frustrated by the daily routines you must get through during your time of loss. Normal activities such as making funeral arrangements, opening the mail, caring for a pet, or even taking a shower may seem overwhelming to you. You might feel frustrated by or resent others for saying the wrong thing – even if their intentions are good.
Coping with change: Change is very difficult for many people. When you lose someone close to you, there may be sudden shifts in your life for which you did not ask for and are not prepared. Simple things, like sleeping in bed alone, not having a partner on your daily walk, or going solo to a social event can feel scary or confusing. You may feel you do not know how to manage all the things that are instantly different.
Physical changes: As you grieve, you may have difficulty sleeping or find you have lost your appetite. You may feel more anxious or tired than usual. Some say they’re even more sensitive to light or noise at certain times. You certainly might cry more tears than you knew you had.
The Krause team knows that all of these feelings, and more, can happen during a time of loss. They are normal, but if they ever become overwhelming, we want you to know we are here for you long after the funeral or memorial service is over. We can connect you with grief support groups where you can meet with others who have experienced loss, talk with licensed counselors, or explore other grief services. We can also make our grief therapy dog, Bennie, available to you – he has received years of specialized training to learn how to bring comfort to the hurting. And through our aftercare program for seniors, we can help match you to activities, events, and caregiving resources. Please contact us today so we can help support you during your time of grief.
And remember, while you’re in the depths of your worst moments, Spring always comes.