This is Day 63 of my #6MonthsOfGrief Project. To learn more about this practice, feel free to visit Day One, where I explain this project in more detail.
I have survived my first week at my new job. Getting trained for a new position is difficult at the best of times, but to do it when I am still so deep in grief is extremely challenging. In fact, there has been a lot of research about how grief effects the body:
I am proud of my survival. I am amazed at what I have lived through.
Previous research has found that following the death of a spouse, people were likely to report more self-medication and worse overall health. Grief has also been found to aggravate physical pain, increase blood pressure and blood clots, and exacerbate appetite loss—possibly because it also caused people to find less pleasure in food. And in a previous study from Phillips, the flu vaccine was less effective in older people who had lost a loved one within the past year than those who had not. A 2012 study published in the journal Circulation found that a person’s risk of having a heart attack increased 21 times over in the day immediately following the death of a loved one and six times over in the following week... And, yes, “broken heart syndrome” is a real thing. Formally known as takotsubo cardiomyopathy, it happens when extreme emotional stress causes one of the heart’s chambers to balloon, triggering symptoms similar to those of a heart attack... In other words, putting all physical ailments aside, it’s difficult—though theoretically possible—to die of a broken heart. ~ Understanding How Grief Weakens the Body, The Atlantic (9/11/14)
I am very aware that this project can bring up a lot around yours or other's grief and loss, I will always follow every post with some online grief support resources that have helped me. Please feel free to let me know of online support that you have found healing in your grief, as well:
Art with Grief:
- Photographer [Sarah Treanor] Takes Moving Self-Portraits to Cope with Her Fiance's Death by Jillian Wong
- When the Fall Comes, a film about Grief by Adriana Marchione
- Self-Portraits: Expressing Emotion Through Art on What's Your Grief?
- The Hard Romance of Grief by Mark Liebenow
- The poetry of John O’Donohue
Living with Grief Resources:
- Modern Loss's excellent resource list
- Grief Bibliography on Grief Healing
- Understanding How Grief Weakens the Body
- Teresa “TL” Bruce's What to Say When Someone Dies
- They Brought Cookies: For A New Widow, Empathy Eases Death's Pain by Ann Finkbeiner on NPR
- A Field Guide to Getting Lost by Rebecca Solnit
- The Geography of Sorrow: Francis Weller on Navigating Our Loses, interviewed by Tim McKee in Sun Magazine
- 12 Things to Know About the First Year of Grieving Someone You Can’t Live Without by Laurie Costanza in Elephant Magazine
Thank you, and see you tomorrow.