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Hospice groups, services help in times of loss

Posted: Monday, March 15, 2004

Coping with the loss of a friend or loved one is a powerful and ever-changing experience. Grief is a normal response to loss, but people grieve in different ways. Reactions to grief can look and feel different than you might expect.

According to information provided by hospice, reactions to grief can include:

A feeling of tightness in your throat or heaviness in your chest.

An empty feeling in your stomach and little or no appetite.

Feeling angry at God and unable to find consolation in your faith.

Feeling angry at medical personnel for not doing enough or not having the technical ability to save your loved one.

Feeling angry at the deceased for: not taking better care of himself or herself; leaving you alone; not making proper financial or legal preparations; dying.

Feeling guilty at times or angry at others.

Feeling restless, looking for activity but finding it difficult to concentrate.

Experiencing an inability to sleep without medication or sleeping all the time.

Becoming more susceptible to colds, flu and other physical ailments.

Unable to motivate yourself to do the things you need to do.

Unable to concentrate or remember things; feeling as though the loss isn't real, that it didn't actually happen.

Sensing the loved one's presence, finding yourself ex-pecting the person to walk through the door at the usual time, hearing their voice or seeing their face.

Wandering aimlessly, forgetting things and not finishing things you started.

Assuming mannerisms or traits of the loved one.

Experiencing an intense preoccupation with the life of the deceased.

Feeling more irritable than usual.

Experiencing unpredictable and uncontrollable bouts of crying.

Feeling afraid to; be alone or with people; to leave the house or to stay in the house; or afraid to sleep in the bed.

Feeling angry that; no one seems to understand what has happened to you; that people expect you to "get on with your life"; and angry that you are not given the time you need to grieve.

Feeling frustrated that friends call too much or not enough, don't invite you out anymore or they seem to be pushing you into socializing before you are ready.

Going to several stores instead of just one, buying things you don't need and forgetting the things you do need.

Feeling a need to tell and retell and remember things about the loved one and the experience of their death.

Feeling your mood change at the slightest things.

Dreaming about the de-ceased.

Finding yourself carrying or treasuring things that belonged to the deceased.

These are all natural and normal grief responses. It will be helpful, even though it hurts, to cry and talk with people when you need to.

Hospice of the Central Penin-sula has bereavement groups where people who have experienced losses can talk with others who understand what they are going through.

Transitions, a support group for widows, meets at 7 p.m. on the first Friday of each month at the hospice office.

TAG (Teen Age Grief), a support group for teens who have experienced a loss, will hold its next meeting at 9 p.m. Friday at Godfather's Pizza.

Circle of Friends is for anyone who has experienced a loss. They meet at 7 p.m. on the third Tuesday of each month at hospice.

Healing Hearts is for mothers who have lost a child. They meet every second Wednesday.

For more information about any of these groups, call hospice bereavement coordinator Sue Zurfluh at 262-0453.

Janet Shapley is a hospice bereavement volunteer who helps facilitate the teen grief group.



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