Handling Loss

Please remember that these are only a few of the possibilities... that what you feel today maybe very different from what you feel tomorrow.
 
If any physical symptoms or health problems persist, it is important that you contact your doctor for evaluation and advice.
 
PHYSICAL RESPONSES
Grief can express itself in physical symptoms, such as:
 
  •  Tightness in the throat 
  •  Change in or loss of appetite 
  •  Restlessness or change in sleep patterns 
  •  Unexplainable lack of energy 
  •  Inability to concentrate 
  •  Difficulty making decisions 
  •  Confusion 
  •  Intense level of feelings 
  •  Sudden change in feelings 
  •  Empty feeling in the body
COMMON FEELINGS
In response to your grief, you may:
 
  •  Feel that the loss can't be real 
  •  Feel that these past few weeks did not happen 
  •  Sense your loved one's presence 
  •  Keep thinking about the life and death of your loved one 
  •  Relive times in the past and feel guilty or angry about things that happened or did not happen 
  •  Feel angry at how unfair your experience seems to be 
  •  Feel that you have been cheated 
  •  Feel that no one knows or understands what you are experiencing 
  •  Need to tell and retell the stories about your loved one and this experience 
  •  Feel mood changes over the slightest thing, including music or smells 
  •  Cry without warning and in unexpected places and times 
  •  Feel like you want to run away 
  •  Desire to stay busy enough that you will not feel the pain 
  •  Fear what will happen next, because this was never supposed to happen
SURVIVING THE IMPOSSIBLE
For as much as you may hate this, it is important to remember that life is not the same now. It is real that you want it to be the same as it was. For the next few weeks or even months much of life may be about surviving.
 
  •  Surviving the pain 
  •  Surviving everyone else's attempts to make you feel better 
  •  Surviving the changes you never invited into or wanted in your life
The following are some suggestions about surviving these days ahead:
 
  •  Live one day at a time. You know better than most people how fragile life is. Live today as much as you are able. Be gentle with yourself if you are not able to be very active. 
  •  Take care of yourself-your body, your mind and your spirit. This means: Relax-Exercise-Eat well. While you may not have the time to take care of yourself, it is important. 
  •  Give yourself permission to "backslide". It is a natural progression in the process of mourning. You are not getting worse, you are surviving. 
  •  Do not try to do everything yourself. You may not have the same amount of strength or concentration you did before. Give yourself either extra time to accomplish tasks or someone to help complete tasks. 
  •  Excessive use of drugs, food, shopping, alcohol or any other activity is not helpful. You may feel good for a moment, but it will not help in the long run. 
  •  Meet others who have an understanding of at least part of your process. This may mean a bereavement class or support group in your area, connecting with other CJD families or attending the Annual CJDF Family Conference. It is important to know that you are not alone, even though you may feel very alone. 
  •  Do what works for you. The world around you may try to tell you what is best for you. Only you truly know that. Do what is right for you.
THOUGHTS
People around you want to help but they may not know how, so please, remember that they are not mind readers. If you have a need, tell someone. This is the only way people know what will be helpful to you.
 
Grieving is a process of redefining who you are after this loss. This will take time, much more time than anyone realizes.
 
If physical symptoms persist or become worse, please see a physician for a check up.
Most Hospices offers Bereavement classes or individual help, make use of this service.
 
Please call the Toll Free HelpLine at 1-800-659-1991.