It’s 6 months since my best friend died and I thought I was doing OK. Then, a week ago, I started feeling almost as bad as when she died. What’s wrong with me?
It’s quite normal to feel an unexpected resurgence of emotion six, seven or even eight months after the death. At that point, it’s very obvious that your friend is not returning and life is indeed different. Others who have been supportive in the early months have refocused on their own lives. You may wish to join a bereavement support group to talk with others and/or seek more information about the grief experience through books (www.compassionbooks.com ) or websites (www.adec.org; www.deolc.org ). The grief journey often seems like a roller coaster ride.
It’s been almost 15 months since my sister was killed in a car accident and I still think about her almost every day. Is this normal?
There’s no time table for grief. We learn to live with our losses day by day. When the death is sudden or traumatic, it often takes longer to process remembrances and feelings. Although your sister is no longer physically present, she will always be with you in memory. To answer your question directly, no, it’s quite normal to remember her on a frequent basis. If you find your recollections or feelings disturbing, you may wish to contact a counselor or attend a support group.
My father died during the summer. Since I’m the oldest son, I’ve tried to help my mom get things taken care of before returning to school. Now that I have some alone time, I’ve tried to research the disease that killed my dad. My mom and sisters don’t understand why I haven’t cried, and I can’t explain it. I hurt but keeping busy seems to help. Is there something wrong with me?
No, each person grieves differently. Each relationship is unique and each grief experience is unique. Some individuals express their feelings and emotions openly while others, much like you, process their experience cognitively.
A close friend’s son recently committed suicide. What can I do to help her?
When someone takes his own life, those left behind are confronted by many different emotions – sadness, guilt, anger, etc. They search for the “why” in hopes this will somehow lessen their pain. Allowing your friend to “tell her story,” over and over again without judgment, is one way of offering support. Spending time with her, even if no words are spoken, also conveys support. Check local resources and share them with her. For example, the Mental Health Association in Delaware offers a Survivors of Suicide Group (www.mhainde.org). If she chooses to attend, you may wish to go with her. It’s often overwhelming to enter a room of strangers and having a good friend by her side could definitely make a difference.
My dog, Ginger, died last week. She was 15 years old, and I can’t stop thinking about her. I dread going home and not seeing her bound out the door to greet me. Every time I start to talk about Ginger, someone suggests I get a puppy. Is this the best way to stop the pain I’m feeling?
Many people don’t understand that grief following the death of a special pet is felt in the same way as any other significant loss. The support and caring extended after the death of a person are often absent after the death of a beloved pet. You’ll know when you’re ready to welcome a new pet into your life. For now, you may wish to explore online resources for pet loss (see Resources on the menu bar) or attend a local support group (see Calendar on the menu bar). Your feelings are very normal. It sounds like Ginger was an important part of your family for many years. Being away from those who understand your feelings of loss is certainly difficult.