There are many things to be careful of and watchful for when you are grieving the loss of someone that you cared for and depended on. You may notice that almost everyone has an opinion about your situation or has a solution for your discomfort. Sometimes when we are hurting and vulnerable it’s very easy to be susceptible to the advice that comes our way from pretty much anyone who cares to offer an opinion. If you are grieving or have recently been through that experience you will likely know just what I mean. There are no quick fixes or easy ways through. You have to find a way to do the difficult grief work needed before you can begin to recover. Besides needing to be carful of wives tales and easy answers you also need to be aware of some unhealthy grief reactions. Many reactions that we have to acute, profound grief are warranted and even though others may have trouble with your sadness, loneliness or despair, they are to be expected. It is in fact your ability to express what you feel that will be of great help to you. If, however, the acute effects of grief continue for months you may have a problem. There is no doubt that you will feel out of sorts for an extended period of time but just the way the body begins to equalize after major surgery, so to do the emotions find a spot that is less difficult. Prolonged grief reactions may mean that what was expected and healthy has become unhealthy and a concern. Lucinda cried, rolled herself up in a ball and refused to participate much in daily life at all after Jeffery died. She was really no different almost a year later. Some people choose to withdraw permanently from life after grief has stolen from them. Usually though, showing no ability to adjust to the loss of a loved one is a sign that something has gone wrong. Lucinda either needs someone to help her express her grief or possibly a physician to offer her some medication that might let her climb out of the pit of her sadness and despair. Some people simple can’t do that on their own. Refusal to let go of yesterday at all can also be a sign that there is a problem with grief. Darnel had every item of his wife’s personal belongings exactly where they were when she used them almost 2 years ago. Nothing had been altered or disturbed. His whole life had become a monument to his wife. This is also a problem. Remaining attached to the person who has died is an option that some may choose but recreating the environment so that it would seem death has not happened is a problem. Some refuse to ever acknowledge that anything important has happened. “No problem here, I’m good.” Others become so involved and attached to their work that they make sure that there is no room for anything else including their feelings. “I don’t have time to feel or sort I’m too busy.” Some think and speak of suicide and a wanting to join the person who has died. “I simply can’t go on with him or her and I have made a plan to join them.” Others deal with their feelings by using drugs or alcohol to help them cope. “I drink myself into a stupor each night because I can’t cope otherwise.” All of these reactions to the death of someone that was very close to you are understandable and expected initially but to maintain them or even escalate them long term is a problem. If you or someone that you care about are stuck and can’t find a way to get through the hurt speak with someone who understands grief, it’s realities and pitfalls. Your suffering is expected; long-term shut down is not.