Adult Grief After a Traumatic Death

light as it was before. Your values may have changed, and you may be impatient with things you deem unimportant or trivial. The grief journey involves restructuring and reorganizing life, which can include changing goals, directions, or relationships. Unfortunately, because our society places so much value on the ability to “carry on,”

Mourning can seem like a misty fog on life.

many mourners are abandoned shortly after the funeral. To be truly helpful, your support system must appreciate the impact this death has had on you even if they cannot fully understand what the loss means to you. They must recognize that in order to heal, you must be allowed – even encouraged – to mourn long after the burial. Triggering Events/Holidays It is likely that you will experience twinges of grief from time to time for many years. Victims/survivors are often surprised to find that in the midst of a series of good days, something brings on an episode of grief. These feelings may be brought on by something called a trigger. A trigger is something that reminds you of your loss. Anniversaries, holidays, and birthdays often trigger reminders of the death or absence of your loved one. Perhaps the most significant and most difficult anniversary is that of the crash. The annual date of the crash may cause anticipatory anxiety and can contribute to renewed grief for victims/survivors. Other annual celebrations, such as religious holidays, birthdays, Thanksgiving, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, will continue to take place year after year. In the past, these times of joy brought your family together. Now and forever, they will trigger memories of your loved one who was lost.

Today, these holidays and anniversaries will be difficult, but later will provide you with reasons to remember your loved one fondly and begin creating new traditions. Planning ahead for holidays and birthdays not only allows you to mentally prepare for those events, but also provides ongoing and open communication between family members.

Planning ahead can open lines of communication.

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