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Marine Corps Logistics Base Barstow


Marine Corps Logistics Base Barstow

Barstow, California
Death of loved ones causes mixed emotions, pain

By Pfc. Jenna Lassandrello | | December 11, 2003

Grief is as old as mankind, but is one of the most neglected of human problems according to The death of a loved one causes a pain that cannot be described, and no scale can measure the loss.

After someone close commits suicide there are many emotions those left behind may experience. Those emotions may even cause behavioral changes. It is common for those left behind to avoid things, foods, or places that remind them of the person. Some people even become emotionally numb and cease to enjoy things that once made them happy. It can cause grief, immense stress and even depression.

"There is no way to properly grieve, every person is different. Therefore, the grieving process will vary from person to person," said Staff Sgt. Joseph Johnson, the base substance abuse counselor for the Marine and Family Services Division and the base suicide representative. There are six common emotions of grief that a person may go through following a suicide. These include shock, confusion, grief, despair, anger, and guilt.

Shock or disbelief is usually the first step in the grieving process. Suicide is not usually expected, and to face that a loved one is really gone can be a hard realization to come to terms with.

Confusion and grief may follow after the initial shock is gone. Not all suicide victims leave notes so understanding the reason may never be possible. Crying is the most common way to express grief and it may seem uncontrollable.

Despair is a strong feeling that can affect eating and sleeping habits, energy levels and relationships with others. Despair often leads to depression, and professional help may be needed to cope with the feelings of helplessness.

Anger and guilt can be the following emotions. Feeling of anger with the suicide victim for causing so much pain and for committing the act, or feeling furious with doctors, family members, friends, or even yourself for not being able to detect or prevent the suicide. This usually leads to guilt. "Sometimes people remain in the grieving process because they are unable to forgive themselves," said Johnson.

Thoughts of how it could have been helped or what could have been done differently may surface.

"Grief is a normal emotional response in a situation like suicide," said Johnson. These emotions and others are normal in the grieving process. But if things do not get better over a period of time professional help may be needed.

"Grieving can last a number of days, months, even years. If a person is finding it difficult to deal with their grief, seeking counseling from a professional can be beneficial," said Johnson.