Monday, June 14, 2010


~~ By Angela Morrow, RN, Guide, Updated November 24, 2009

Grief and mourning are natural responses to loss. And most people will say that all phases of the grief and mourning process feel “abnormal” and most who endure the grieving process feels that their grief is “complicated”. And they are correct and those feelings are “normal”

However, for some, the grieving process can be so complicated that it does become abnormal, but in time and with help, it is a process that can be overcome… These are some types of “complicated grief”:

Chronic Grief – the grieving person has trouble returning to normal activities over time

Disenfranchised grief – often occurs when a grieving person’s loss can’t be openly acknowledged or is one that society does not accept as a real. Examples include losses related to stillbirth, miscarriage, loss of a homosexual partner, overdoses from drugs and/or alcohol or suicide.
Delayed grief – the intentional postponement of grief. Sometime this is related to other life events or losses that drain ones ability to work through the grief process – examples include a young parent with multiple births who loses one child but has to care for the remaining; a young parent who loses a child but still has other children to be cared for; someone serving in the armed forces who loses an associate or family member back home, but must continue fighting the battles assigned to them; the list goes on…..

Exaggerated grief – intense reactions of grief that may include nightmares, delinquent behaviors, phobias (abnormal fears), and thoughts of ones own suicide.

Sudden grief – when death takes place very suddenly without warning. Sudden grief can lead to exaggerated reactions and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Again these loses might be stillbirth, miscarriage, suicide, tragic accidents, and other violent deaths.

Each of these types of  “COMPLICATED GRIEF” can occur alone but more often they are combined – such as “Sudden and Disenfranchised Grief” therefore complicating or compounding the grieving process. Grieving is a process which must be gone thru and can’t be avoided.

  • Be honest with yourself and those who love you - tell them that you are hurting
  • Join a support group – often it is helpful to be with others who have had a similar experience
  • Talk to your doctor or other professional
  • You don’t have to endure this process alone – it is a journey we all take at some point in our lives.  Some of us take this journey more often than we’d like, but there is help to make the process easier and more bearable. 

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