When a loved one dies, scores of emotions flood our lives. We may be so overcome by grief that we wonder, “Am I normal? Am I losing my mind? Is there something wrong with me?”
We need to understand what happens to us in a time of grief. Here are some of the emotions that usually come to us:
1. Shock. We simply cannot believe what has happened. It seems like a dream and we keep expecting to wake up and find out that it is not true. Numbness is normal and serves as an emotional shock absorber to help us take the stunning blows of life.
2. Anxiety. We feel that the whole foundation of life has crumbled. We are frightened. We wonder, "What am I going to do now? How am I going to live? Who will take care of me?" You feel lost and alone.
3. Depression. We may find ourselves sitting day after day staring into space with a sense of futility and emptiness. We may feel fatigue or restlessness, and be unable to concentrate. We may even wonder if God hears our prayers. This feeling may linger over us like a heavy fog for many months.
4. Regrets. We are apt to say such things as, “Oh, if I’d only done more for him while he was alive" or "If I had only called the doctor sooner.”
5. Self-pity. We are apt to cry out, “Why me?” Or, “It’s not fair.”
6. Bitterness. We may feel anger and resentment toward almost everyone—other family members, the physician, and even God.
7. Mixed emotions. Sometimes death is a relief. When the illness has been prolonged and there has been intense pain, we may welcome death. However, if we aren’t careful, we will feel guilty about feeling grateful.
All of these emotions come to us in a time of sorrow. Understand that they are normal. Face them, deal with them, and then get on with the task of living.