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πŸ“‹ Grief, Bereavement, Mourning Death of Spouse (AARP Article)

πŸ‘‰  by Ruth Davis Konigsberg

 

πŸ“‹  New research reveals that common conceptions about dealing with loss of a spouse are all wrong.

 

πŸ‘‰  LINK TO ONLINE AARP ARTICLE 

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πŸ“‹  from the article!

 

(5) Humor can heal. In 2008, psychologist Dale Lund of California State University surveyed 292 recently bereaved men and women 50 and older, and he found that 75 percent reported finding humor and laughter in their daily lives, and at levels much higher than they had expected. Other research has shown that being able to draw on happy memories of the deceased helps you heal β€” those who are able to smile when describing their relationship to their husband or wife six months after the loss were happier and healthier 14 months out than those who could only speak of the deceased with sadness, fear and anger. As hard as it might be, try to focus on good memories and feelings about your relationship, as it is the positive emotions that can protect your psyche and help you find serenity.

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πŸ“‹  from the article!

 

(4) You don’t necessarily need counseling. Often, well-meaning friends and relatives will urge you to attend a support group, or go to see a grief counselor. Although taking such steps might make you feel better, it’s certainly not a requirement for healing. According to a 2008 survey, most grief seems to go away on its own. Counseling can be helpful, however, for people whose grief has already lasted a long time and who are likely suffering from a condition called "complicated grief."

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πŸ“‹  from the article!

 

(3) Loss is harder for men. For years, clinicians have been operating under the assumption that women grieve harder and longer than men. In 2001, psychologists Wolfgang and Margaret Stroebe (a husband-and-wife team) decided to examine all the existing research and came to the surprising conclusion that, after taking into account the higher rate of depression in the overall female population, men actually suffer more from being bereaved. We might be under the impression that widows despair more, but that’s because there are many more widows to observe.

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I have read the comments/shares here and I also lost my husband - two years ago, which is hard to believe because it feels like, well, I don't know.  To Lynn and Eileen, it is so recent for you.  The article said grief groups are not always needed and I know a lot of people don't go to them, but I have and I met a lot of other people who have lost someone, many of them have lost a spouse.  I am one of those people who doesn't mind reaching out and getting help.  Some people have a hard time asking for help.  I can't relate to that.  But I can respect it.  I'm glad the article said people can heal without it too because I've known people who didn't seek groups or counseling and I'm glad they can heal too.

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So good hearing from you Carolyn @CarolynS674392 !!!! Nicole πŸ€—πŸ€Ž

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Hi Nicole!  πŸ˜€

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πŸ“‹ from the article!

 

(2) Grief is not forever. One of the most important new findings has shown that for most of us, grief is a severe β€” but self-limiting β€” condition, not a permanent state. In one study of older men and women who had lost spouses, George A. Bonanno, a clinical psychologist at Teachers College, Columbia University, found that the core symptoms of grief β€” anxiety, depression, shock, intrusive thoughts β€” had lifted by six months after the loss for 50 percent of the participants. Smaller groups took up to 18 months or three years to resume normal functioning. Loss is forever, but thankfully, acute grief is not.

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Hi, I appreciate you sharing some research that has been conducted on grieving.  I agree with Beatlelover KT (yes, I was a Beatlemaniac in my younger days!πŸ˜‰). Grief is an individual experience based on many factors.  My grievance counselor told me that since I had been married for almost 50 years it would probably take 3 to 4 years for me to "recover."  I never fully knew what that meant and still don't. Yes, I agree some of the pain will be less severe, there may be fewer triggering events, I may be able to talk about my husband without crying.  So, I agree some of the acute reactions will lessen.  I am still grappling with the journey and what to expect.  I realize I owe it to myself to take a more active role in redefining my identity, self-pity is not healthy (although I have my moments of why me) and there is a world out there for me to experience as a single person.  I have had a hard time with being called single, but that is life.  It is all part of the new identity I have to create that best suits me.  So, while it is tempting to put grief in a box and hope we can store it away in the attic, I suspect the loss will always be with me, but perhaps I can view it in a better perspective, so it doesn't define the new me or my new life.  Just some food for thought.  Glad we are all engaged in this thought process, which means we are not giving up.  Sue πŸŒžπŸŒˆ

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(1/23/23) Sue @SueS788527 , this Grief & Loss Forum has been a comfort for me. Luv your sharing with us!!! Nicole πŸ€—πŸ€Ž

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I read the article. Although some of it is accurate,

grief is such an individual and intricate process. I myself have gone back and forth multiple times on this emotional rollercoaster. Very often I am sent back to the Anger stage with no warning. And I never find myself joyful and cheerful. I’ve had moments of happiness but nothing extreme. I’m into my 5th year and I’m more stable with my grieving but don’t feel I’ll ever truly get over my husbands death. It was truly the worst thing I’ve ever experienced 

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I just lost my Husband two weeks ago The love of my Life he was a caring Man and loved his Family and friends would do anything for them. I now live alone with my Dog and Cat . I have very few friends and no family here in state so it is very lonely for me . I feel very empty and broken cry every day , i  speak to my late husband in hoping he hears me .I miss him so every much , every where i turn i am reminded of him which makes me sad but happy as well . This is the first time i have had to deal with greive . I know it will get better over time , i just wish i could get some kind of a sign that he is ok or hears me. 

 

 

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Keep talking to him.  I talk to Dan all the time.  I think you'll get signs as time goes by.  πŸ’•

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I agree Carolyn @CarolynS674392 and it is when you are not looking for them is when they sometimes show up! It could be something someone says or someone stopping by. We never know how they will connect. But they will.... πŸ€ŽπŸ€—

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Hi, Lynn, I relate to your feelings and once my husband died, I too looked for signs.  Lo and behold within a few days after his passing I kept seeing signs on vans, posters and helpful grocery shop attendants with his name!  I couldn't believe it but that many signs must mean something!  After a few months I became convinced that he was still with me, not in the physical sense but his spirit was here.  I planted a few of his favorite trees and shrubs and every time I pass by them, I see their leaves swaying in the wind and sun filtering onto their branches.  That is my reassurance that he is still with me and wants me to be happy in my new life.  It keeps me going and gives me the reassurance that I am not alone.  Faith and remembrance are key to healthy healing, but it will take time.  While you are grieving, you may start to feel more independent, self-confident and self-aware.  It is a scary time, but as the saying goes as each door closes, others open. The unknown can bring new opportunities for you and me.  I hope so.  Your friend, Sue

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(1/23/23) Sue @SueS788527 , so glad you stopped by today! Nicole πŸ€—πŸ€Ž

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Lynn - I am so sorry to hear of your loss.  Yesterday was the 8 month anniversary of my husband's death and tomorrow is his 66th birthday.  I miss him so much every day and totally get when you say you feel empty and broken.  I can't say I am better than I was at the 2 week or 1 month mark, but what I can say is that I at least feel that I am functioning, although in a fog.  I don't break down crying every second anymore and don't have any more panic attacks, but I feel that I am empty inside.   I did not have any family or friends around either so I pretty much had to deal with his death alone.  I am now near my sister and it definitely helps, but I still feel alone most of the time.  Even with people around the person I long for is no longer here.  I keep asking my husband for a sign also.  I jokingly tell him that I am dense.  Don't give me any of those subtle signs, I pretty much need to be hit over the head with something.  So far nothing that I know of, but I keep hoping.  One thing I am doing is writing a letter to my husband.  I could not start until about the 4 month mark but now have 17 pages.  I don't write every day but when there is something in particular I want to say or when I am feeling extra low.  I pretty much cry through the whole thing but in a way I do feel better afterwards.  I know that everyone is different so what may work for me will not necessarily work for others.  I wish you the best.  This is a journey none of us wanted to take and I believe the hardest thing we will ever do.  Take care.  Eileen

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(1/23/23) Eileen @EileenP559346 πŸ€—πŸ€Ž Your words touched my insides today! Nicole

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(1/23/23) Lynn @LynnT264969 , I am so sorry for your loss!!! 😭 They hear us and look after us 24/7. When we get quiet, we will notice the little signs they send us. WE are always here for you and honored you stopped by today. Nicole πŸ€—πŸ€Ž

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(1/23/23) @BeatleloverKT , I agree! Bottom line, you have to do YOUR journey YOUR way. Nicole πŸ€—πŸ€Ž

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πŸ“‹from the article!

 

(1) We oscillate. For years, we’ve been told that grief comes in five stages: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. If we were to diagram those stages, the emotional trajectory would look something like a large capital W, with two major low points signifying anger or depression, and the top of the last upward leg of the W signifying acceptance. But when psychologist Toni Bisconti of the University of Akron asked recent widows to fill out daily questionnaires for three months, vast fluctuations occurred from one day to the next. A widow might feel anxious and blue one day, only to feel lighthearted and cheerful the next. In other words, we don’t grieve in stages at all, but oscillate rapidly. Over time, those swings diminish in both frequency and intensity until we reach a level of emotional adjustment.

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