For many people it can take 18-24 months to re-stabilize one's life and daily routines after the death of a family member. It can take much longer when the death was a violent one. Recognize the length of the mourning process. Beware of developing unrealistic expectations of yourself.
Your worst times may not occur the moment a tragic event takes place. At that time, many are in a state of shock or numbness. Often you slide "into the pits" 4-7 months after the event. Strangely, when you're in the pits and tempted to despair, this may be the time when most people expect you to be over your loss.
When people ask you how you're doing, don't always say, "Fine." Let some people know how terrible you feel.
Talking with a true friend or with others who have been there and survived can be very helpful. Those who have been there speak your language. They can likely be believed when they say, "I know, I understand." You are not alone.
Often depression is a cover for anger. Learn to "uncork your bottle" and find appropriate ways to release your bottled-up anger. What you are going through seems so unfair and unjust.
Take time to lament, to experience being a victim. It may be necessary to spend some time feeling sorry for yourself. "Pity parties" sometimes are necessary and can be therapeutic.
It's all right to cry, to question, to be weak. Beware of allowing yourself to be "put on a pedestal" by others who tell you what an inspiration you are because of your strength and your ability to cope well. If they only knew!
Remember, you may be a rookie at the grief experience you are going through. This may be the first death of someone close. You are new at this, and you don't know what to do or how to act. You can ask for help.
Reach out and try to help others, at least in some small way. This little step forward may help prevent you from dwelling too much on yourself.
Many times of crisis ultimately can become times of opportunity. Mysteriously, your faith in yourself, in others and in your Higher Power can be deepened through crisis. Seek out persons who can serve as symbols of hope to you.
Palliative Care is under the Division of Palliative Care & Geriatric Medicine (PCGM). PCGM at Mass General offers a wide range of clinical expertise including inpatient services, outpatient programs and home based programs.