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Grieving? Don’t overlook potential side effects

January 4, 2019

About the Author

photo of Heidi Godman

Heidi Godman, Executive Editor, Harvard Health Letter

Heidi Godman is the executive editor of the Harvard Health Letter. Before coming to the Health Letter, she was an award-winning television news anchor and medical reporter for 25 years. Heidi was named a journalism fellow … See Full Bio
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Julie Hirsch
February 2, 2019

Lost my husband of 59 years suddenly in October 2017. I had just had spinal fusion surgery. Although I had paid caregivers and much care by my daughter, I felt like half of my body was missing. I’m finding it difficult to reach out and prefer to stay home and read. Not conducive to recovery.

Mary Hutchison
January 15, 2019

Our Mother Agnes Wheaton, Grandmother to William E.Piers, Mom to Scott Lee, MaryDee died 1/12/19, after a long illness, and dose of Adavan/morphie. We thought we had a few more days, but it takes effect quickly. People need to know that. She and her husband Sherman Wheaton (died earlier) had pioneered Alaska, starting the first Community Council in part of Anch.They build a number of homes, helped develop a number of emementary schools,sidewalks,roads,donated land for roads,started the first Monesory school for Children in Alaska. They are desperately missed, as we try to cope with deep grieving. Our empathy has been, and continues to be focused on doing the emotional and physical works of love. Thank you for listening. Only my Mother ever actually listens to me. We,I miss her.MaryDee&family

Chuck Ramani
January 16, 2019

Mary: Deeply sorry to hear of the passing of such a kind lady. Although I’m, but a stranger to your family, I could intimately relate to your grief. My mother passed away at age 94 in 2016 but I can still, from time to time, hear her voice and can feel her gentle soul around us. Stay strong so you can serve others like mom & dad did. Regards,
Chuck Ramani, CA

Bonita Zoltonos
January 15, 2019

I lost my dear husband and best friend after 50years of marriage, I find grief is like the tide, it ebbs and flows, but is always with me. I am fortunate that I have a loving family, friends and neighbors. My grief feels like a dagger in my heart, I sometimes twist it myself to try to ease the pain.

Veronica Lowery
January 31, 2019

I understand your grief totally, I lost my husband of 43 years and nothing or no one can prepare you. It is if one day you are going along and you are fine and then all at once some simple little move brings it back fresh as the day it happened. I have had other deaths but nothing is like the death of my husband. It has got a little sometimes I can laugh instead of cry but there are moments that I can’t even explain. They tell me it gets better.

Olajide TV
January 15, 2019

Thanks very much Heidi for this great article, it is helpful to me personally. I wish to read more from you soonest and sorry for the death of your Mum.

January 15, 2019

Terminal illness of a loved one intensifies and elongates grief. Ask any wife of a Glioblastoma patient. You live it every day for months knowing the path you walk is most likely not into the sun.

January 14, 2019

you cannot put a time frame on grief….you must simply go through it at your own pace and I am sure that everyone has their own time and coping skills to deal with loss. There is no formula.

Bruce F. Anderson
January 14, 2019

After a year and a half of the profoundest loss of my Venus, and discovering how unconcerned America is for grief at the most heart-wrenching. Furthermore to know that American society will abet a daughter in matricide, I profoundly despise the fillips of concern for survivor’s experience. Loss of a dog, your grandparents, purely Napoleonic. And this ‘murder’ I write of committed by Hospice. I am happy, enough to lift my prayers to unknown Greek/Roman gods, but American society is a charade of self-congratulatory delusion. I think of elephants gathering about a beloved matriarch, and I have experienced instead, as she did, isolation. Purely contemptible psychiatric quackery. Despair, humanity, that you have torn a people from the cosmic immensity of pure love held as contemptible. Lear’s tears are but rivulets when pure goodness is executed by self-laudatory medicos.

Roy Burtrum
January 14, 2019

This is an excellent article, brief and to the point. My wife of 45 years died this year, and I experienced many of the symptoms that the doctor described. She is absolutely correct that time will help you get through the pain, however the memories will be with you forever.

Mr Costek
January 14, 2019

Lost my wife over a year ago. Together for 48 years. Every day seems pointless. Very tired. No family or friends available. No energy for or interest in socializing with strangers. Only leave my apartment for essentials. I’m sure there are others like me who know this reality.

Wendy Reichelderfer
January 14, 2019

My dear husband of 29 years died almost 4 months ago after a lengthly and difficult illness. If it wasn’t for Jesus being my personal Savior and Lord and my clinging to Him, and involvement with my Church Family, I think if be a Basket Case.

However, what I am going through is not as bad as what I suspect most people experience….. and I credit that to the peace my Lord gives me ~~

Nicholas E Stratas, MD DLFAPA
January 14, 2019

Important to understand that continued focusing on the “loss” extends the grieving time. As soon as able a return to gratitude in the present for the presence of the loved one.
Nicholas E Stratas, MD

David Barney
January 15, 2019

Couldn’t disagree more.
It is fleeing the pain of grief by distraction and denial that prolongs the labor of living through it.
I say this after losing my cherished wife of 54 years last July.
Facing the loss is torturous, but the only path through it.

January 9, 2019

Stress definitely causes a slew of internal issues. Ashwagandha has been really helpful in addition to Magnesium glycinate. This has personally helped me tremendously. I also recommend taking at least 5 minutes out of your day to do some deep focused breathing.

Pradip Rajaram Gharpure
January 5, 2019

very interesting and useful article. People need to overcome grief as early as possible. Practice of Sahajayoga can help overcome any kind of grief and stress very easily. Do not take drugs, or consult the doctor, just follow sahaja yoga. Life would be simple for you.

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