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Grief

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The scientific aspects of the effects of grief seem to follow what we've learned so far but on a much more intense scale. We already know that stress has a negative impact on the body but in the case of Broken Heart syndrome, it appears to be strong enough to actually change the shape of the heart and cause an attack similar to a heart attack. In an attack caused by broken heart syndrome, a massive rush of adrenaline caused by stress stuns to cells in the heart and causes them to go inert for a while. It seems that the cells don't actually die, as some of the patients affected were back to normal within a short amount of time. The scary part about this condition is it seems there's no way to prevent it from occurring. Since the attack isn't caused by blockage like a conventional heart attack, the usual medication is useless and the people affected are of all ages and genders. It sounds more dramatic than it is, being labeled broken heart syndrome, since it can be caused by physical stress as well as emotional but the fact that strong enough emotion can damage your heart is frightening.
I can't be too critical of the woman in the second article as I have no idea how much emotional turmoil she has gone through but some of her methods of dealing with her grief seem unhealthy to me. She keeps many things of his around and treats them as if they were him in some ways. It seems like she's unwilling to move on and find acceptance, which is the final step of grief. She does seem able to overcome the need to blame someone at some point however, which is a good thing. However, the one part I really was confused by was her wish for anew husband. She says she wants someone to be there who will not mind being second place to a ghost and being pushed aside. Again, I'm in no position to say what's right or wrong, but this seems unhealthy and frankly not fair to whoever would attempt to be there for her. From her requirements for a man though, I think she'd be lucky to find one.

Grief

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This string of articles made me think that this woman was dealing with the death of her husband all wrong. Not that I'm an expert or anything but I thought that the way that she was grieving was detrimental by making it harder on herself and doing everything that she could to remind herself. She said that she kept a lot of her husband's t-shirts in bags so that she could reserve his smell. I feel like that would only remind her of her terrible loss, especially considering that it was so close to the death of her husband. I personally have no idea how I would react. Last Sunday my dog Tucker, got into some antifreeze on the street and didn't make it when we took him to the vet. I understand that this really doesn't compare to losing your partner but I handled it differently, which is probably not very healthy either. I'm someone who doesn't like to talk about why I'm grieving because it makes it more painful to remind myself of the loss. When the assistant informed me that my puppy didn't make it she kept asking if there was anything that she could do or if I wanted to talk. I just shook my head and told her that I would wait for my mom to get back to the animal hospital. My mom got back and immediately came up and hugged me and asked me if I wanted to talk, just like the assistant. I told her that I just wanted to get out of there as soon as possible. When I got back to my dorm the next day I didn't tell anyone even though I was still upset about it. It made it easier for me to handle it to not remind myself about my loss. Like I said, I understand that my story and this woman's story are on two totally different levels but I couldn't help myself but to compare. She did little things to remind herself of her loss whereas I just kind of brushed everything under the rug. I have no idea which way is healthier and I am interested in finding out more and am excited for our discussion about grief tomorrow.

Death and Grieving

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This topic was really tough to read, but I think it is probably the most interesting one we've covered so far. The articles with the wife telling the story about her late husband were very hard to get through. To lose someone you love, especially in that traumatic of a way, would be exceptionally difficult. One comment of her's reminded me of what we discussed last week. In one of her articles, she mentioned that afterwards she created "to-do" lists, and she delegated very few things to other people. This reminded me of the show we watched last Monday, when the wife with cancer wanted to have those chores and errands to do in order to keep a hold on her life. I just thought that was an interesting similarity.
I thought that the article dealing with the physical breaking of hearts was very surprising. I had heard about this before, but I had never really thought that there was much science behind it, but rather that it was just a wive's tale. The fact that individuals who have this issue recover so quickly afterwards is amazing too - if it physically impacts your heart, you would think that it would be more of a permanent issue, not one that is not visible a few days later.
What I found most shocking in this article is when it stated "in addition to such common emotions as grief and anger, doctors say broken-heart syndrome has been triggered by a person's anxiety over making a speech, a migraine headache or the emotional response to a surprise party". It's very strange to think that simply a large surge in emotion can affect your body, and especially your heart, that much.
After reading the entire article, it kind of seems like this can happen in any instance that is extremely stressful. I thought it seemed interesting that they noticed that this happened more often in post-menopausal women - it was almost as if they were wanting to draw that conclusion, but didn't have the facts to support it, so they just threw that information out there and hoped you'd link those two things together.

The most painful feeling possible

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These have been the best articles I think we have read in class. Grief is a tough topic and hard to read about. As I read the articles of the 9/11 wife grieving I couldn't help but tear up feeling her pain. I thought it was interesting that her therapist would advise her to do such things as smelling his shirts, and pretending he is still there as such things are usually seen as unhealthy. The summer before my freshman year in high school by best friend Nick passed suddenly in his sleep. Not having a chance to say goodbye, or hug him one last time was hard. I related to the women in the article because I felt like I kept reaching out to him and never being able to receive a response took it's toll on me. I found myself watching old videos of us and calling his phone just to get his voicemail and hear his voice. It's hard to lose someone close to you but throughout the years I have learned like the women in the article that there are healthy ways to deal with grief and move forward with life.

Grief

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These articles were very sad. I haven't really lost anyone close to me so its hard for me to imagine what these people went through. Whenever someone I know looses someone close to them, like a grandparent, I never know what to say to comfort them. I can't say I know how they feel or what they are going through, and even if I had lost someone, each situation is different and there would be no way for my situation to be just like theirs. In these situations I all I can really do is let the grieving person know that they can come and talk to me if they need to and that I am there for them. I thought it was good that the lady in the article sought held from a therapist when she lost her partner. I think that's important for the grieving process because while grief is a natural thing, you need to be able to move on after a while, otherwise the grief becomes very detrimental to one's health. As far as the broken-heart syndrome goes, it reminded me of the final scene of the Notebook when the old couple died together. It also reminded me of an event in my own family. My great-uncle died a few years ago after a long time in hospice care, and after he died my great-aunt's health deteriorated very quickly and she passed away not long afterwards. Even though it was sad, and broken-heart syndrome would be a terrible thing to go through, it's almost sweet to think that a couple's bond was so strong that they couldn't live without one another.

Grief.

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Truthfully, I really don't have anything to say about the first articles. There really are not words to describe the reaction to hearing stories like hers. Recently in my life, I have been helping my best friend through the horrible and sudden loss of her mother and father, and it reinforces the thought that there are not words. I am often at a loss for what to say to her and for good reason. Without having lost someone so close to me, I feel like I almost do not have the right to talk about how it might feel. It is something I cannot even imagine.

The article about broken heart syndrome was interesting, although was difficult to read after the heartbreaking intensity of the first one. To me, it sounds like shock is more of a factor than the relationship possibly? This may be my cynical outlook on this article because numerous times they said that doctors are still looking into the causes and who is most susceptible but I don't know that I personally would see this as dying of a broken heart but rather as dying or suffering from medical conditions brought on by shock.

Grieving

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The articles about the woman who lost her husband were really sad. I can't begin to imagine how she feels because I have never lost a loved one. I think that losing your husband while so young would be one of the worst things to go through. You are going through grieving while raising a new baby, such a happy time turns into a sad one. Your husband misses the baby's first words, first steps, everything. This situation reminds me of a movie, called Brothers. Its about a woman whose husband dies in the war, leaving her and their two daughters behind. She gets really close to his brother, and then it turns out he didn't die and comes back home with post traumatic stress disorder. In the beginning of the movie when she thinks he died, it shows how hard it was for her to grieve. Then she starts to move on, when she finds out that he is alive, but he's not the same. I hope that I will never have to go through something like that.
The article about the science of a broken heart was interesting. It makes sense that your heart can actually break, but it can also be other stressful or exciting events that cause it. I would like to see when they find out more about what causes it, because it seems like they don't know much as of now. It is a hard thing to study, because it is such a sudden event, and not very common. It seems like I've heard of a lot of other things that are detremental to health after a spouse dies. Grief is not good for health. That is why it is important to go through the grieving process, but then move on.

Grieving

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Eddie's story was truly heartbreaking. I cannot comprehend the level of pain and loss she had to go through especially while having to care for a baby. When she mentioned keeping the shirts of Eddie in plastic bags to preserve a part of her memories of him, I completely understood. My grandmother died of cancer when I was 13, and my grandfather did the same thing. He even kept one of her shirts in his truck for a while. They had been married for a little less than fifty years, and it has been very hard on him. The scent-related recall is true for me as well: My grandma would always smell of lilacs, and every time I smell anything lilac, I am reminded of her.
The broken-heart syndrome was fascinating. I had heard of it before, but I assumed it was only found in really old people whose spouses had perished. I also really enjoyed the explanation of the Japanese origin of the name. I had told my roommate what this article was about, and it was interesting to hear her opinion on the matter. She thought that dying of broken-heart syndrome would be awful; I, on the other hand, thought that it would be a relief. If you love someone that much, it would seem better that you would die and not have to live with that grief. I just found her perspective on the matter an interesting point of view.

"I always thought we would go together"

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These articles made me so sad. I couldn't imagine going through an experience like that. The worst part was that she had to finish pregnancy and then have her baby without her husband. In one of my other classes, we had a speaker come in and talk about grief and disasters. With disasters, it's so hard for families to find that complete closure because many times they don't see the body. The speaker told us that in situations like this, they usually have families bury a shoe or something that was that person's favorite thing. Just by burying something, it helps the families to realize that they are gone rather than sit around and wait for them to walk back through that door.

In the last article, I thought that the broken heart syndrome was so interesting. I never would have guessed that there was an actual disease called that, but I'm not surprised. My grandpa died about a month ago, and I can remember my grandma saying, "I don't know what I will do without him. I always thought we would go together." That has to be so hard on her. She's doing pretty well as far as health goes, but it seems like after one spouse dies, it's not long before the other one does too when they're so old. Everyone grieves in a different way. For me, I'd rather have someone just give me a hug then actually say something. It makes me feel worse when someone says something like, "It will be okay. He loved you, and he lived a good life. Just remember all the happy times." But maybe for some people, that's what they want, which makes it hard to ever know what to say or how to react. For my mom and my grandma, they just kept on moving and tried not to really think about it. Neither one of them got much sleep, but in time, they got a little bit of time to recover. For my mom, it's been tough. For the past month, all that she's been doing is driving back and forth between Illinois (where my grandma lives) and Minnesota. This has taken so much out of her. She hasn't really gotten that time to just sit around and relax because as soon as she gets home, she's back at work. This is definitely not good for her health. You can tell that she's struggling and that she needs to take some time for herself and not worry about everything else in her daily life.

Grief...

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Reading the articles about the woman who had lost her husband in 9/11 was really depressing. I cannot imagine going through the loss of a partner, especially in such a tragic way. Grieving is a difficult thing, and people go through it in so many ways. It is hard to know the right way to react to someone who is grieving because if this. It also depends on what stage they are in. Sometimes people need someone to distract them and do something fun, other times they just need a shoulder to cry on. Three of my grandparents have passed away, so I know what it is like to lose a loved one. There a definitely times when I was tired of being sad and just wanted distraction, but other times I needed someone there to help me get through the grieving process. I have had friends who have had grandparents pass away too and even though I have been through it before, it is still hard to know what to say or do.
Grief reminds me of the movie "The Notebook." There are several times throughout the movie when grieving occurs, over lost love, lost memories, and eventually over the loss of life. The end of the movie reminds me of the physical reaction to grief, the broken-heart syndrome. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=th0gZzAovn4&feature=related The couple die together, holding hands. The way the movie is made, this doesn't seem like a coincidence, it seems like their love let them die together. I am not sure if this would actually be possible in real life, but the broken-heart syndrome makes it seem like something similar could, and actually does happen. In a way it is romantic, but at the same time scary. Health problems or death of one family member would cause enough grief without the having health problems of another at the same time. This is probably far reaching, but it reminds me of the social networking talk we had and how the actions of one person affect others to three degrees. What if this happened more often with the broken-heart syndrome? Just a thought.

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