You may be feeling a considerable amount of emotional pain and it’s normal not to want to be around others in the initial months following his/her death. While we are grieving we are not our usual selves and you may not feel inclined to put your grief on hold to be around others.
Others may react the other way and need or want to be with others all the time. They want to get lost in the crowd and not have to deal with their loss. For them, social situations offer a welcome respite from their grief.
Many people question the “normal” way to socialize while grieving. There are traces of the old you but the grieving process has forever changed the person you once were. New preferences emerge, old habits disappear and you make some new friends. Old friends fade away and you are drawn to others who have weathered a similar loss. All of this is normal.
The following symptoms are common in the first few months but they mostly disappear without you having to do anything. If, however, your symptoms persist you should get assistance from a medically trained professional or join a grief support group.
Physical and Mental Symptoms:
• Inability to focus on a task
• Feelings of emptiness
• Confusion or short attention span
• Failure to process and facts or details
• Anger at God
• Difficulty in making sense of their death
• Searching for understanding of life without their loved one
• Fatigue or exhaustion due to lack of sleep
• A crisis of faith in your religious beliefs
• Changes in appetite
• Too much sleep
• Getting more flu or colds illnesses
• Aches and pains like headaches every day
• More infections and upper respiratory ailments
The circumstances of the death and your marriage are likely to influence how you feel. If your spouse was in pain, had a long illness and you were their main caregiver you may feel more relief than sadness. This doesn’t mean that you didn’t love them it just means that the time had come and you had made peace with it.
Grief and loss evoke a number of different feelings and not just sadness. You may feel numb, relief, peace or even joy. Some people socialize all the time because they don’t want to be alone. While others bury themselves with work or hide at home never wanting to socialize. None of these feelings are right or wrong because they are just your personal feelings.
One warning – don’t let solo time evolve into excessive isolation from the outside world. We need a balance of alone time and social time so that we don’t slip from grief into depression.