The physical, emotional and mental condition brought on by a loss, such as the death of someone you love, is called grief. Grief is our body’s natural ability to heal our emotional injury. Grieving can be hard. Lack of understanding makes it harder. Grief is a personal process characterized by three phases.

The first phase is Shock (denial). This begins with the news of the death, but the reality of the death may occur in a few minutes, a few days or even several months later. This phase “protects” the survivor from the emotional impact of the death. A need to stay busy, confusion, an inability to express emotion, inability to function and an overwhelming sense that something is wrong without grasping the reality of the loss are common characteristics of this phase.

The second phase is The Expression of Grief (bargaining, anger, depression) may last for several days to several years. They are mental, physical and emotional manifestations that may come and go or appear in any combination.

Mental: Preoccupation of the death: how it happened, the person that died. Inability to focus, remember or be productive. You may have paranoid or inconsistent thoughts. You may even want to make radical changes in all aspects of your life, but it is imperative that you take time to think clearly and not make impulsive decisions that you may later regret.

Physical: Fatigue, weakness, insomnia, weight gain or loss, headaches, the tendency to catch stress-related illnesses, a sense of vulnerability, discomfort with too much activity or stimulation.

Emotional: Intense sadness, fear, anxiety, anger, depression, loneliness, confusion, helplessness, isolation and guilt. The inability to feel love or give love, compulsive behavior, thinking that you are “crazy” are often felt by those in grief.

If you are experiencing these symptoms, realize that they are quite normal and in many ways are a necessary part of the healing process of grief.

If you feel, however, that you are not able to handle your grief on your own, you may want to consider professional help.

The third and final stage is Acceptance. You will know when you have reached this stage when you are able to recall memories of your deceased loved one fondly and pleasantly instead of painfully. Once acceptance has been reached, planning for the future becomes more realistic. A new and wiser you will have emerged.

The rate of acceptance often depends on your ability to feel and express your grief openly. Take time out from your usual standards of behavior. Surround yourself with people that you feel comfortable with, tell them how you feel and what you need from them. Feel and express your emotions. It is okay to cry, to laugh, or to be silent. Write things down about your feelings, your wishes, regrets and joys. Give yourself breaks from grieving to rest, have fun and be nurtured. Try to eat well. Try to get your sleep. Above all, give yourself time.

Why do we have funerals?

A funeral is a purposeful opportunity to reflect on the life that has been lived. It is a time for sharing in the deepest sense, to give emotional support and find mutual strength. It is a very individualized choice. No two funerals are meant to be the same as no two lives are ever identical. You and your loved ones will make choices that are significant and meaningful to you.

We can help you simplify some of the many decisions you must make, but the reality is the death of a loved one is a life-altering event. Many are unprepared for the painful emotions, which accompany such a loss. As funeral directors, we are here to help you through some of the important decisions you must make and Greene Funeral Home has two convenient locations to serve your needs.