What No One Told You About Grief

You’re going to re-evaluate your friendships.

There are those who you felt close to, before the event. Now, they may still Like your Facebook activities, but you rarely pick up the phone and call them. Maybe dealing with raw emotions isn’t as easy as talking about the soap opera events at their workplace, but you’ll start to realize that those friends who have maybe been in the background might just be the ones you can feel more at ease with now.

Death does not reflect an image of someone who is sleeping.

Your loved one may resemble a waxwork. There’s a mix of chemicals that are used to help make your loved one look (and smell) their best. Death can be ugly, and the mix of formaldehyde, disinfectant and other chemicals used in the embalming process kills cellular proteins – preventing their use by bacteria and so preventing the breakdown of the skin.

Looking at your dear departed may be unsettling for you because, just like a waxwork, it looks like someone you know but it doesn’t really seem like them.

You’ll see your loved one standing in a crowd somewhere, someday, and your feet may begin moving toward them before you even know it. Then you’ll realize it couldn’t possibly be your loved one and you will once again feel at least a pang of the grief you thought had passed.

You’ll have imaginary conversations with your loved one in your head until you start feeling like you are going crazy. It’s normal, but at some point, the irony will strike you that you are discussing this new habit with your loved one and asking if you should seek help for it.

Cortisol, the stress hormone, has a counterbalancing hormone called DHEA, the levels of which drop after age 30. In older people who grieve, the cortisol is more damaging because of the lack of DHEA, and grieving can cause real harm to the immune system.

Extreme emotional stress may also affect the heart by causing a swelling in one of the heart’s chambers which can mimic a slight heart attack.

Often, we think of people dying of a broken heart and to an extent, this may be possible, though very unlikely.

You will start to see life differently and it’s not uncommon to start getting anxious about the passage of time when you realize it comes in a finite amount – and without an indicator level.