Am I Grieving Normally?
Parents often ask these questions when going through grief.
- Am I normal?
- Am I going crazy?
- Will I ever get over this?
A better question is whether the grief is healthy. There is, of course, no one right way to grieve. Many of the strangest emotions and thoughts are actually quite normal. But even parents who grieve in a healthy manner have times when they are overwhelmed by their grief.
The following checklist may help you figure out how they are doing. As time goes on, parents will find they are answering yes to more and more questions. But if you are not satisfied with how you are progressing, you should seek help from a doctor, grief counselor, family counselor, spiritual leader or therapist.
- Am I able to laugh without feeling guilt?
- Do I pay attention to my personal appearance? (hair, clothes, make-up)
- Do I enjoy being out with friends for an evening?
- Am I feeling pleasure in sexual experiences?
- Am I able to sit quietly by myself and think of things other than the baby?
- Do I take an interest in current events and news? (television, radio, newspaper)
- Do I feel I can effectively parent my other children?
- Am I able to do the daily tasks I am used to performing? (yard work, housework, cooking, household maintenance)
- Do I look forward to outings, trips, special events?
- Am I involved in activities that I participated in before the loss? (church work, volunteer work, clubs, sports teams, job)
- Can I talk about the loss without showing strong emotion? (sadness, anger, jealously)
- Do I feel like the fog has lifted?
- Do I pay attention to my surroundings? (beautiful scenery, the taste of food, the smell of perfume)
- Am I able to get a good night’s sleep and awaken feeling rested?
- Am I able to concentrate on work and conversation?
- Am I less forgetful and better able to think clearly?
- Can I recall past events?
- Do I feel stronger and more in control? (less like an open wound, better able to cope with other’s comments, better able to cope with everyday crises?)
- Do I feel there is meaning to my life?
- Can I look back at what happened and feel that something good came out of the tragedy?