How to Prepare and Support for Delayed Grief

Monday, March 15, 2021

Have you ever felt like you weren't that affected by a sad event, only to feel that grief much later? You might have experienced something called delayed grief.

Delayed grief happens to a wide range of people, so you should know that you're not alone. Once you understand it, you can prepare for the heavier moments and even gain some insight into reactions you might have to other life events. We'll walk you through what you need to know.

What is Delayed Grief?

It might seem odd or random when grief is delayed. But it can actually be a self-protective measure.

Sometimes it's your body telling you that the emotions and experiences that come with full-blown grief are too much for the current moment. You might even experience dissociation, a disconnection from yourself.

Signs of Delayed Grief

Many people who experience delayed grief will finally feel that grief in response to another upsetting event that happens later on in life. They might wonder why they are reacting so strongly to this second thing. If this sounds like you, consider the possibility that you're experiencing a kind of double grief—one layer from the moment at hand and another layer from the delayed grief of the former event.

Another thing to look out for is timing. Have you ever had to take on a major responsibility shortly after or during an upsetting event?

If so, your mind might have put the delayed grief process in motion to allow you to handle the tasks at hand. These could even include the tasks for the funeral itself.

Delayed Grief During COVID-19

If you or your loved ones are dealing with a loss during the COVID-19 pandemic, there are many reasons why you might end up with delayed grief.

For one, there are new responsibilities that you might have never had to think of before. You might need to talk to children about more than just death—for example, explaining why they cannot visit high-risk family members or gather to mourn.

And the mourning itself might fall along a different timeline than usual during the pandemic. Instead of seeing things happen gradually during visits to the hospital, you might only hear about updates from afar. And if you cannot hold the funeral you want right now, you might plan on holding another service after the pandemic.

These are all realities that can contribute to delayed grief.

Getting Delayed Grief Support

The simple act of recognizing delayed grief can go a long way in making you feel validated in your experience. You might want to explain your situation to friends and family so they understand that you might need the most support months or even years later.

Grief counseling or regular therapy can help with this as well. And you might find a sense of belonging or understanding in a support group.

And if you want to give others a break from the stress of funeral planning, it could help to plan ahead of time. Though it might seem daunting at first, we can help you through every step of the process. Pre-planning the funeral arrangements can help your loved ones feel things more fully when they need to grieve.

Everyone Grieves Differently

People who go through delayed grief often feel out of place. When others around them are grieving, they might wonder why they aren't really 'feeling it.' Later, when the grief hits them, it could be hard for them to reach out because it has been so long since the event occurred.

But grief is grief, and it's important to treat it with the understanding and support it deserves. If you have questions about how we can help, just fill out our contact form and we'll get back to you right away. We're here for you.

At Schumacher & Benner Funeral Home and Crematory, we want to take care of you and your family in any way possible. Our services include traditional funeral services, celebration of life services, cremations, selection of memorial and headstones, and more.  

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