“Only the Lonely…” and “What becomes of the broken hearted? Who have love that is now departed?” Those songs were spot on for me. What about you?
I was just reading an article that suggests that the risk for heart attack or stroke goes up during the first few weeks of bereavement.
“Our study shows the likelihood of a heart attack or stroke doubles in the crucial 30-day period after a partner’s death for those experiencing loss of a loved one,” said study co-author Sunil Shah. “Bereavement has long been known as a risk factor for death. Prior work has suggested that grief has a direct negative impact on blood clotting risk, blood pressure, stress hormone levels and heart rate control,” said Shah, a senior lecturer in public health at St. George’s University of London in England.
The study was focused on partner loss but I believe that it applies to all situations when your heart gets broken. Mine still has lots of holes from when my son died, my parents, my sister-in-law, my brother, my friends, etc.
How many of you have known people who’ve had a grandparent or parents who died very soon after the death of his or her spouse? Jeanne, my cousin John’s wife lost both of her parents within minutes of each other. Not because of an accident either. They were both ill and one, the dad I believe, was in the hospital for a few weeks or months. The mom was too ill to go see him much. One day she had to be taken to the hospital and the daughters asked that they be placed in the same room. The staff rolled the mom in on a gurney and put it right next to the dad’s bed. He looked at her and tried to touch her as a tear trickled from the corner of his eye and he died. She took one look at him and realized what had just happened closed her eyes and she died too. This is an extreme case but my husband’s grandmother passed away and within hours his grandfather started running a fever and was gone within a day or so. My mom died three months after my dad but she had worn herself out by taking care of dad so when she got bronchitis her body just didn’t have the energy to heal.
Bottom line here is that grief takes a huge toll on our bodies. So if you are dealing with an impending death please take care of yourself too. If you have already experienced the death – be sure to get some help, lots of sleep, exercise and eat healthy foods. Try not to hibernate alone. Reach out to friends and family. If you are the child of a surviving parent or a sibling who has experienced a death of a sister or brother….or a parent, aunt, uncle or friend of a child who has died be there for others by pushing an active social life, grief support and lots of exercise and healthy food consumption.
I also want to make a stronger case for talking about your feelings. If you are not a group person or you don’t want to talk to a professional just find someone who will listen and not judge. Someone who will be there to let you cry or be angry or whatever…take charge of your grief.