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Harvard Health Blog
Grieving? Don’t overlook potential side effects
- Author: Heidi Godman,
As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 ~~
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
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.
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.
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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