Adult Grief After a Traumatic Death

Traumatic Grief

Grief is not an event, but a process of experiencing the effects of a death or other loss. Grief is something that everyone experiences at some point in their lives. Traumatic grief is different and even more difficult. When someone is killed suddenly and violently, grief reactions of family and friends can be intense, complicated, and long lasting. If your loved one was killed in a substance impaired driving crash involving alcohol or drugs, you may feel angrier than you have ever felt and sadder than you ever thought possible. After a crash, your world is changed. Your thoughts and feelings may change from minute to minute or hour by hour, and you could feel completely out of control. You may even feel like you are “going crazy,” causing you to question your own sanity. Because there is no way to prepare for this type of loss, many people find traumatic grief to be uncharted territory.

Every person struggles when they receive the sudden news that someone they love has been killed. Some people go into shock, exhibiting symptoms such as sweating, thirst, and dizziness. Shock can make people feel confused, and unable to think clearly, plan, or comprehend what is being said to them. It may also make them feel numb. In some ways

There is no way to prepare for sudden loss.

shock can also be helpful because it prevents them from feeling more emotional pain than they can handle in that moment. These are normal reactions to a very abnormal event. Others do not experience this numbing. They may exhibit extreme emotions such as crying, intense anger, anxiety, and fear. Again, these are normal reactions to a disturbing event. Each person grieves differently and on their own timeline. Some people draw into themselves for a period of time and find everyday tasks to be utterly overwhelming. Others throw themselves into activity to avoid pain and to create structure. Still others alternate between numbness and frantic activity. Deep mourning, including crying and sobbing, can drain a person to the point of exhaustion.

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