Don’t make the mistake of thinking because you have cared and tended to a dying loved one for some time, that you will therefore have less pain then someone who has lost someone to a sudden death. Ultimately all death is sudden.
In fact, it’s a better idea to make no assumptions at all. The finality of death, along with end of any hopes of a miracle remission or cure, brings a tremendous amount of emotional pain
No one can tell you about grief, about its limitless boundaries, its unfathomable depths. No one can tell you about the crater that is created in the centre of your body, the one that nothing can fill. : Ruth Coughlin, from Grieving: A Love Story
The death of a loved one comes in many ways, a spouse or parent you’ve loved for half a century, a child you never knew, a friend’s death by suicide or violence. However it comes, the death of someone close brings shock and finality for which nobody is truly prepared.
As a caregiver who has lived through a long-term illness with a family member you’re still going to experience mourning when the person dies. The grieving process you face may be different from those who face a sudden death, or the death of a child, but the loss is just as deep. To diminish this event is to dismiss the effort you made in caring for, as well as your connection with, your loved one.
Grief is never orderly
As a bereaved soul you will often move backwards and forwards through numbness, suffering and acceptance. You will experience common physical reactions to grief such as – exhaustion, loss or increase of appetite, insomnia, tightness in your chest, shortness of breath and dizziness. Some of your emotional responses will include – shock, anxiety, guilt, anger, depression, irritability, inability to concentrate, withdrawal and fear of “going crazy.”
These feelings are difficult, yes, but they’re normal.
If you want to resolve your grief, if you want to leave the pain behind, sooner or later you must go through the pain.