When a death occurs, there often feels like there are no answers. But there are many questions.
Will the pain ever go away?
Will I feel better?
Why haven’t I been able to cry yet?
Why am I afraid to leave my house when I used to be active?
Why am I running all the time, filling every waking moment with frantic activity?
Why do I find it impossible to accomplish even simple tasks, or even get out of bed?
Why do I find myself breaking down in embarrassing places? Why can’t I have any control over my emotions?
Why don’t I have an appetite? Or, why can’t I stop eating?
Nothing makes sense. Am I going crazy?
Why am I so forgetful?
When I have the energy, how do I set new goals?
How do I even begin to know what I want?
What am I going to do with the rest of my life? Does this feeling of numbness get better?
I’m not used to traveling alone and taking care of myself. Will I be afraid forever?
When I get sick, how will I take care of myself?
When should I discard my spouse’s clothing? When should I stop wearing my wedding ring?
How should I talk about this to my young/grown kids?
I hate feeling so dependent on others; will I ever feel capable again?
How can I deal with the first birthday, anniversary and holiday after losing my spouse?
Why do I feel guilty about being happy again? Why do I feel disloyal in thinking about dating?
I’ve been told that the one-year mark ends the mourning time, but I don’t feel that way. In fact, I feel worse than at the beginning. Why?
What future is there for me beyond the feeling of unending, unchanging desolation?
How will I know when I’m ready to date? When is it too soon?
Am I forgetting my spouse if I begin dating? What will my children say? Why am I hesitating and troubled by uncertainty?
Am I going to spend the rest of my life lonely? Feeling like a fifth wheel with our old couple-friends, how can I have any kind of social life?
Will I ever be able to remember the joys, hopes, memories … smiles … without feeling sadness?
Excerpt from THE HEALING POWER OF GRIEF: The Journey Through Loss to Life and Laughter (Sourcebooks, Inc.; ISBN 1-932783-48-2) by Gloria Lintermans & Marilyn Stolzman, Ph.D., L.M.F.T.