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Guide for Survivors

  • Appropriate Expectations to Have for Yourself in Grief

Appropriate Expectations to Have for Yourself in Grief

Your grief will take longer than most people think.

Your grief will take more energy than you would have ever imagined.

Your grief will involve many changes, and be continually developing.

Your grief will show itself in all spheres of your life: psychological, social, and physical.

You may find yourself having a number of physical reactions.

You will grieve for many things, both symbolic and tangible – not just the death alone.

Your grief will depend upon how you perceive the loss.

You will grieve for what you have lost already, and for what you have lost for the future.

Your grief will entail mourning not only for the actual person you lost, but also for all of the hopes, dreams, and unfulfilled expectations you held for and with that person, and for the needs that will go unmet because of the death.

Your grief will involve a wide variety of feelings and reactions, not solely those which are generally thought of as “grief”, such as depression and sadness.

You may have a combination of anger and depression, such as irritability, frustration, annoyance, or intolerance.

You will feel some anger and guilt, or at least some manifestation of these emotions.

The loss will resurrect old issues, feelings, and unresolved conflicts from the past.

You will have some identity confusion as a result of this major loss, and you may experience reactions that are quite different for you.

You may have a lack of self-concern.

You may experience “grief spasms” – acute upsurges of grief that occur suddenly with no warning.

You will have difficulty thinking (i.e., memory, organization, and intellectual processing) and making decisions.

You may feel like you are going crazy.

You may be obsessed with the death, and preoccupied with the deceased.

You may begin a search for meaning, and may question your religion and/or philosophy of life.

You may find yourself acting socially in ways that are different from before.

Society will have unrealistic expectations about your mourning, and may respond inappropriately to you.

You may find that there are certain dates, events, and stimuli that bring upsurges of grief.

Certain experiences later in life may temporarily resurrect intense grief for you.


Grieving: How to go on Living when Someone You Love Dies, Theresa A. Rando, Ph.D., 1989


St. Cloud Hospital Bereavement Line

Call the "Bereavement Line" at any time to leave a message, and you will be contacted by our Spiritual Care staff. This line is not for an emergency. If you feel your grief is overwhelming, call your provider, or seek help through the St. Cloud Hospital emergency room.


1406 Sixth Avenue North
St. Cloud, MN 56303