Chapter 2: What does grief look and feel like?

How grief affects your thoughts


"I can't seem to accept that she's gone."

When someone important to us dies, it may be our first experience of death. It is almost impossible to believe that life has changed so much.

Being forgetful

"I can't seem to remember things the way I used to."

Forgetting appointments, losing everyday objects such as car keys, and difficulty completing tasks are common.

Intrusive thoughts

"I should have brought him to the hospital for further tests. If I had, he might still be alive."

Some people have intrusive thoughts or images of the person who has died. Others regret decisions made during an illness or are angry about the way that events unfolded.

Feeling the person is still here

"I feel like she's still here, or will come back soon from a trip."

It is common to feel that the person who has died is somehow still present and will return shortly. Some people may also sense the presence of the person they have lost for some time after their death.

Seeing or hearing things that are not there

Hallucinations (for example, hearing your name being called by the person who has died) are common in the early stages of grief. They are usually temporary and do not require medical attention. Nevertheless, they can be disturbing and some people fear they are "losing their mind." If hallucinations continue for a long time, be sure to talk with your doctor.