When grief is brand new, there is often a great deal of confusion. The person grieving is lost, disorientated and very unsure. Those who are close to the one who is hurting are usually in a difficult spot. They aren’t sure what to do or how to help.
If you are grieving, you will very likely be having some feelings unlike anything that you have experienced before.
You may find some comfort in knowing that what you are feeling is to be expected. It may be helpful to know that you’re probably not going crazy and you might find some peace in knowing that your state of mind is even encouraged.
Grief and its many accompanying feelings can and usually do last a very long time, and really there are no guarantees that you will feel and suffer the same emotions as the next person. But it’s not uncommon to be so overcome with loss and emptiness, especially at the beginning, that everything feels and seems somehow unreal.
I would compare new, acute grief to the feeling of being in a power outage at night. In an instant there is confusion, disorientation and likely even fear. What just happened? What should I do and what will happen now, are all feelings that may overtake you. Am I safe? Should I stay still or move? How do I get help? Can any one else see? These are all reactions that are to be expected when someone that you love dies and your world is torn.
I can remember years ago, not long after I got my driver’s license, being the driver in a fairly serious automobile accident. Even though I wasn’t physically hurt, I was dazed and confused to the point of disorientation.
Fortunately, I wasn’t alone. My friend, who was older and certainly wiser, recognized what was happening to me as I reacted to the traumatic events that just took place. He took me by the arm, led me to safety, sat me on the side of the road and spoke gently and quietly to me. I have no idea what he said, but I remember his caring tone and presence.
I also remember clearly, even all these years later, a feeling of being stunned and uncertain. Was I hurt? What should I do? What will happen now, were all things I was feeling and went on feeling very strongly for sometime. And even though my accident involved broken metal and not broken lives, I was in a state of shock for a long time to come.
I want you to know that when you lose someone very important, that you have lost much more than a partner or a parent, a child or a friend. You have lost an essential bearing. Something is gone, taken from you that kept you anchored and stable. They had an important part in keeping your world balanced.
The things that you saw for yourself, both in terms of your future and your emotional well being are now gone. And because of that, you can expect to feel shock, confusion and an acute sense of being lost without any compass at all.
In time and with working at your feelings, things will improve, but we will get to that.
For now, I want you to know that you are in the midst of a trauma and that if you find yourself completely lost, dazed, unsure and frightened, try and take some comfort in the fact that you are not losing your mind, only shaken to the core.