Appropriate Expectations with Grief

Appropriate Expectations You Can Have for Yourself in Grief The following is a list of appropriate expectations that you can have in grief.  Evaluate yourself on each one and see if you are maintaining realistic expectations for yourself.

You can expect that:

  • Your grief may take longer than most people think
  • Your grief may take more energy then you may have imagined
  • Your grief will involve many changes and be continually developing
  • Your grief will show itself in all spheres of your life: psychological, social and physical
  • Your grief will depend upon how you perceive the loss
  • You will grieve for many things both symbolic and tangible
  • You will grieve for what you have lost already and for what you have lost for the future
  • Your grief will entail mourning the loss, your hopes, dreams, and unfulfilled expectations you held with what you have lost and for the future needs unmet because of the loss
  • Your grief will involve a wide variety of feelings and reactions, beyond only sadness
  • The loss usually resurrects old issues, feelings, and unresolved conflicts from the past
  • You may have some identity confusion as a result of a major loss
  • The reactions you experience may be quite different that what you may had expected
  • You may have a combination of anger and sadness, such as irritability, frustration, annoyance, and/or intolerance
  • You may experience some form of anger and guilt
  • You may have a lack of self-concern
  • You may experience “grief spasms,” acute upsurges of grief that occur suddenly with no warning
  • You most likely will have trouble thinking (memory, organization and intellectual processing) and making decisions
  • Sometimes you may feel like you are going crazy
  • You may obsessed with the loss and be preoccupied with the loss at times
  • You may begin to search for meaning and may question your faith and/or philosophy on life
  • You may find yourself acting socially in ways that are different from before
  • You may find yourself having a number of physical reactions
  • You may find that there are certain dates, events, and stimuli that bring upsurges of grief
  • Society may have unrealistic expectations about your mourning and may respond inappropriately or unhelpfully towards you
  • Certain experiences later in your life may resurrect intense grief for you temporarily
  • Holidays and anniversaries may also bring upsurges of your grief
  • Your grief may look very different from others or even from other grief you have experienced
  • Grief usually is based on your personality and how you attach meaning to the loss

Adapted from How to Go on Living When Someone You Love Dies, by Therese Rando

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