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Thursday, March 19, 2009

Bereavement Series: Complicated Grieving

Sometimes there is a sense of peace, like viewing the loss from a distant, higher place. Other times an unexpected grief storm seems to hit.

Some of the complications in grieving happened to me when I woke repeatedly after nightmarish dreams, with the circumstances of the death flashing by, feeling as if I were reliving it.

This happened after my husband died from cancer in 1996. It has occured again now (2009), after my gentleman companion of the past 3 years has died following heart surgery.

At 56 years old, with no siblings or children, I am alone. No relatives. It's all up to me to get through this bereavement and I will.

Following my husband's death returning to work immediately was a necessity. I worked long hours frantically, making achievements, winning awards at work. But eventually it all caught up with me and I had to get medical and mental health attention, and find time to attend a Hospice Grief Group.

Poor sleep, nightmares, flashback type memories, fatigue, indigestion, and tension headaches have occurred after both losses. In my Hospice Bereavement Groups I've learned that this is common.

The usual effects of stress can impact the immune system, and it's important following a loss to take extra care of yourself, especially nutrition, rest, and exercise.

Grieving and loss are effected by the total picture of the life of your loved one, and the circumstances of your own life situation. This is why each grief is so unique, so different from others.

The pieces of life, like the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, have been thrown up into the air, and the old picture of life is gone.

I'm rebuilding a new picture, a new life. Some of the old life remains, but I'll need to get out there and discover some new pieces also to build the new life.

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