People’s responses to grief will be different, depending on the circumstances of the death. For example, if the person who died had a chronic illness, the death may have been expected. The end of the person’s suffering might even have come as a relief. If the death was accidental or violent, coming to a stage of acceptance might take longer.
One way to describe grief is in five stages. These reactions might not occur in a specific order, and can occur together. Not everyone experiences all of these emotions:
Denial, disbelief, numbness
Anger, blaming others
Bargaining (for instance, “If I am cured of this cancer, I will never smoke again.”)
Depressed mood, sadness, and crying
Acceptance, coming to terms
People who are grieving may have crying spells, trouble sleeping, and lack of productivity at work.
NAMI’s Peer-to-Peer course introduced me to the concept of mental health recovery and gave me HOPE. As a NAMI Provider Education presenter and In Our Own Voice speaker I share my story of mental health recovery. You can see my speech here.
NAMIWalks provides NAMI Orange County with 1/3 of their operating budget, enabling them to offer free mental health educational programs, meetings and support groups.
This weekend my sister visited and we celebrated Thanksgiving twice with our parents. Friday we joined our mother at her memory care community and joined their festivities. That afternoon and early dinner went very well. We had fun decorating her room and organizing photos.
Saturday we brought our father to visit our mother for lunch. The visit went well until we left them alone for a few minutes while we got coffee in the lobby. By the time I returned to our mother’s room, they were planning their escape back to their old beach house (which they no longer own – we had to sell it to pay for their care).
Big sigh. Clearly they wish their lives were as they were before dementia, before stroke. We all do.