Doing Life Together

Doing Life Together

Physical and Emotional Reactions to Grief

posted by Linda Mintle

Today is the anniversary of my mother’s death. It has been two years and I miss her! And today, families are burying their loved ones in Connecticut. Grief can overwhelm but we can get through it.

Grief is a normal reaction to loss and trauma. Check how you are doing.

Although we tend to believe grief passes through consecutive stages, it doesn’t. Grieving is a process in which a number of emotions and behaviors are revisited several times. There is no right order, and people tend to go back and forth with varying feelings. Grief is an automatic process in which a period of denial helps buy time to process the loss.

We respond with numbness, shock, denial, intense sorrow, pain, anger, confusion, loneliness, emptiness, depression, guilt, fear, abandonment, isolation, physical symptoms, irritability, fantasy, restlessness, disorganization and hopelessness.

Grief is a time of stress that taxes the immune system, making the body more susceptible to illness. During grief, try to eat nutritiously and get plenty of rest, even though you are not thinking about self-care and will have difficulty doing these two things. Physical symptoms can include headaches, fatigue, appetite loss, dizziness, heart palpitations, numbness, and insomnia. The overall feeling is one of body exhaustion caused by the intensity of emotions.

Grieving comes and goes in intensity. Some days you are doing well, and other days are just hard to get through. At times, you will be surprised at how the most insignificant thing can bring on an outpouring of grief. At other times you will be amazed at your strength. Through it all, you’ll discover that His grace is sufficient to meet all your needs. Hear Jesus say to you, “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor.12:9, KJV). His strong arms surround you with comfort and love.

It’s important to watch for more severe signs of grief that may create deeper psychological problems, such as:

–Substance abuse

–Chronic psychosomatic complaints

–Excessive guilt

–Wanting to die and join the person who died.

–Morbid preoccupation with worthlessness

–Inability to get back into a routine after a significant period of time

–Overly intense reactions when the deceased is mentioned

–Isolation from normal relationships

–Feelings of intense hostility or irritability

If your physical symptoms, or any of the problems above, linger for more than two months and are interfering with your daily functioning, you may need to talk to a grief counselor. This time frame is only a reference. You will know if you are stuck in your grief. If so, help is available.

 

 

Reassurance, Identifying Kids at Risk and Forgiveness: Dr. Linda on CBN News

posted by Linda Mintle

This morning I spoke to CBN news about reassuring your children as they return to school after the horrific shootings. Watch this short interview for tips on what to do, how to identify kids at risk and the importance of forgiveness.

Click on the picture to go to the link:

Ways To Help You Deal with the Connecticut Shootings

posted by Linda Mintle

I’m sure we all feel somewhat traumatized and emotionally exhausted from the events that took place on December 14, 2012 at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown Connecticut. Our hearts go out to parents and loved ones who will begin to bury their children and friends due to those unthinkable events. Most of us are still trying to process how someone could do what was done.

So many questions have been raised.

How do you send you child off to school this morning given the events that just occurred?

1) Evaluate your anxiety as a parent. If you feel highly anxious, you will pass that anxiety on to your child. So get yourself together emotionally, calm yourself down and continue your normal routine.

2) Help yourself and your child with worried thoughts. If your child expresses worry, help him or her take that thought captive (What to Do With Worried Thoughts). The blog will go into more detail but basically you do this by acknowledging the worried thought, then replacing it with a biblical thought or scripture. For example, God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love and of a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7). Then pray for God’s peace. In my book, Letting Go of Worry, I have included a number of scriptures on worry, anxiety and fear.

How do you talk to your child about death and violence?   This blog offers specific strategies. 24 Ways to Help Children Deal with Fear

1) How much does your child know? If you child is unaware of the violence, you do not have to talk about it or only talk about it minimally.

2) Let your child take the lead. How much does he or she want to know? Allow him or her to ask questions and follow the lead. You will have much more information than your child so be careful not to go into details your child doesn’t want or need to know.

3) Consider the developmental level of your child. Young children may not grasp the finality of death or are just getting to understand the idea that someone is not coming back when dead. So you have to deal with the appropriate developmental level of your child in terms of explanations.

If you lost a child or an adult, know someone who did or lost a child at another time and this incident is triggering that loss again, read this blog: Coping with the Sudden Death of a Child.

To help with worry, anxiety and fear:

Peace During the Storm

Worried and Can’t Sleep

Scriptural Meditations When Terror Strikes

 

 

Coping With the Sudden Death of a Child

posted by Linda Mintle

The death of a child is one of the most difficult life events: Children are supposed to outlive their parents.

The painful loss of a child by sudden death is not something any parent ever wants to experience. It’s out of sequence and interrupts the normal family life cycle. Children are supposed to outlive their parents. However, when tragedy strikes, parents often find themselves asking specific questions. These questions are normal and part of the grieving process. Perhaps the most difficult questions for any person with faith is, “God, why?”

Children are the most important emotional focus in a family. They are extensions of us, representing our hopes, dreams and unfulfilled expectations. We want to give our children all that we can. We love and esteem them, and we can’t imagine our lives without them. Nothing can be as painful as losing a child, an event made even more horrible by the aspect of sudden death.

Most people view the death of a child as one of life’s greatest tragedies and challenges. Children are not supposed to die before their parents; it’s out of sequence. We expect to help our children grow and to launch them into the world. When they die suddenly, that launching never occurs, the family life cycle is interrupted and our dreams come crashing down.

The sudden death of a child brings on intense and prolonged emotional pain. Adjusting to a child’s death is more difficult than any other family life-cycle transition.

All members of the family are shaken and affected by the tragedy, and with sudden death, there is no anticipated grieving. Siblings are frightened, feeling lost and confused, and marriages come under tremendous strain. Sudden death raises apprehension about the future, brings on a sense of insecurity and is hard to grasp because of the overwhelming pain. Families who experience the sudden death of a child commonly ask several questions:

Did it really happen?

It takes time for the full impact of the loss to register. The initial reaction is disbelief, shock or numbness.

Could I have done something more—or differently?

“If only…” It’s normal to rehearse various scenarios in our minds as to how we could have prevented the death.

Am I worthy of living?

“What did I do to deserve to live?” This is known as survivor’s guilt.

Who can I blame?

When we experience anything out of our control, we want to blame someone or something as a way to make sense of it.

Why do I have to deal with all the medical and legal authorities?

At the time of a sudden death, no one wants to deal with questions from police, coroners, doctors, investigators and other officials. We feel they are invading our private moments of grief, and they are. Yet sometimes these intrusive questions are vital to obtaining needed information. We also feel a sense of morbidity when we deal with funeral directors, the county coroner and others trying to make funeral arrangements. These people are accustomed to murder and death. Sometimes they appear insensitive and uncaring.

Why can’t I talk to him or her one more time?

Obviously you can’t prepare for sudden death because you don’t know it’s coming. The last thing said may have been pleasant and loving. Maybe you were able to give a last hug, smile at your child or tell her you loved her. Maybe you had an argument, were hurried that morning, didn’t speak or had to discipline. Regrets and unfinished business are normal. Don’t dwell on them. It serves no purpose.

God, why?

It’s OK to ask this, and you will, many times. There is no easy answer. You may never know, and that’s the toughest part of saying goodbye.

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