The Fatigue of Grief

Here are the top 10 posts from the last 2 years. I know that everyone else does this as a beginning-of-the-year thing in January, but…..

I was surprised to see which posts received the most hits. Here is # 4…….

“There are peaks over which the eagles cannot fly”

I was reminded recently of the fatigue of grief. Many, many people, including me, have written about the symptoms associated with grief: sadness, slowness, confusion, indecision, loss, and feeling like a zombie. Even lesser known reactions, like anger or bursts of euphoria are talked about more often than the fatigue and exhaustion that is frequently a part of grief.

Grieving people are knowledgeable; they expect to feel different emotions after a loss, whether the loss is permanent, like a death, or is a separation, like a break-up, or is temporary, like an illness. They aren’t shocked by their anger and sadness. These same people may fail to recognize that fatigue or sluggishness may also occur and make even simple chores difficult or impossible to manage.  This isn’t about being weak or

strong.  The fatigue of grief can’t be pushed through; you take it an hour at a time (on bad days, a

moment at a time) or a day at a time. Time alone doesn’t do very much. Time and psychological work is usually the answer. You feel and think and reflect and learn and you work your way through grief. And you remember, and you feel more emotions, and some days you feel great and other days bring you to your knees.  Grief is democratic – taking the strong and the weak equally, putting everyone through the same hell.  I don’t know why such fatigue happens.  I’ve always thought that it is the body’s way of expressing the hard work that has engaged the mind.

The answer?  It isn’t very clever or psychological – push when you can, rest when you need to, be compassionate to all, including yourself, and know that, at the end of mourning, your energy will return and you will find yourself clearer than before.

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