Facing Complicated Grief: Personal Experience

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Robert Stanislaw
Project part 2 "Facing Complicated Grief"

The problem that I am suffering from is long term grief medically known as "complicated grief." This problem was brought on by the sudden death of my close uncle in-law Lance. Lance died at the early age of 37. I met Lance about several years ago when I started to date my wife Heather. Lance had a very caustic and stressful relationship with his wife Shelley, and they were in the midst of a divorce last year when he passed away. Lance went for a walk one day in order to avoid an argument with his wife Shelly, and due to the high heat index, and not knowing he had a weak heart, Lance had a heart attack and died. It was ruled by the medical examiner as "Cardiac arrest due to heat exhaustion." The initial shock of losing Lance so sudden and just five days before my birthday has left a longstanding grief within me. Lance's death was not like anyone else whom I've had to deal with when they die. We were very close, he was approximately my age, my weight, and most of all he was a father of three children whom I am very close to. Subsequently my mother and father in law buried Lance on october 10th, it was their 21st wedding anniversary. "Complicated grief" is the term used for prolonged periods of grief. This is usually used to describe someone who has hit a "sticking" point in the grief process. Normal stages of grief progress through stages slowly making progress while recovering from the death of another individual. Whereas individuals suffering from complicated grief cannot progress through the recovery process, they become stuck in these periods of longstanding mourning. Individuals suffering from complicated grief usually are overwhelmed with their emotions brought on by grief and trying to accept the death of a loved one. The most notable sign of complicated grief as opposed to normal grief is the prolonged duration of grief that becomes evident. The origin of complicated grief is brought about when a person experiences the death of a loved one in which they had a very close and strong bond. In my case, I really loved Lance, I thought he was very funny, respectable, a great father to his children, and we had a lot of things in common, like football, and racecars. Analyzing my complicated grief over Lance's death is brought on by the unresolved problems of his life. He has left behind three children, two very young, and one teenager. I suppose the hardest thing for me to deal with Lance's passing is who is going to help raise and be the father figure in their lives? Who is going to make sure they go to college? And will his widow Shelly remarry, and if she does will the guy she meets be a good father like Lance? I truly feel there will never be total reconciliation within all the previous issues I stated because Lance is gone. He can and will never be replaced. I think I needed medical assistance in treating my complicated grief because of certain behavior patterns that are consistent within myself which have occurred longer than six months, things such as, not sleeping as well as I used to. There were times when I was the hardest person in the world to awaken, however; I find myself being a more sensitive sleeper, I often dream of Lance, I can see his smile and still hear his voice in my dreams, as if we were sitting around watching the Lion's lose, yet another game. I think my biggest problem as a result of my complicated grief, is that I talk about his death all the time. Sometimes I feel compelled to tell people about how good he was, and how much we miss him. Unfortunatley he seems to come up in almost every serious conversation I have, especially with people who knew him. I sometimes feel the urge to talk about him based on the small things that remind me of him, like watching the Lion's lose, or the Woodward Dream Cruise, or making a big breakfast which was his favorite thing to do for the kids, or seeing his pictures that we have all...
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