Sudden vs Predictable Loss and Grief

By: Matthew Funeral Home
Monday, June 11, 2018


Grief affects us all in different ways. With the loss of a loved one, grieving is a necessary part of the healing process. When the loss is sudden, the grief can be devastating. When the loss had been mounting for a long time, such as with a loved one on life support, the grief can be just as painful. But sudden loss and predictable loss are felt in different ways, and the grief we feel in these times of heartache can be weigh heavily upon us. 

Sudden Loss

Sudden events that take loved ones away from us can be extremely painful. Car accidents, crime, suicide, and other types of unexpected deaths can result in the feelings of sudden loss. The grief of an unforeseen passing of a loved one can leave you reeling. Common reactions to this type of loss include insomnia, nightmares, depression, social isolation, or anxiety. 
Many people, in the face of sudden loss, will attempt to avoid everyday scenarios in an attempt to avoid a similar fate. For example, it isn’t uncommon for the child or spouse of someone who passed away in a car accident to fear driving. Whether this behavior ends up being long- or short-term, it is our grief combining with our survival instincts.

Predictable Loss

Predictable Loss refers to the death of a loved one, with the expectation of it happening. While awful to think about, we know deep down that as our loved ones age, it is more likely for them to pass away. Common examples of predictable loss include loved ones with terminal illnesses, those of truly old age, or on life support. Their passing is no less painful; but mentally, we are more prepared for this loss. 
In some cases, the grief settles in before the loved one’s passing, in mounting anticipation of the loss. For some people, when the loss is anticipated for so long, the grief lessens once their loved one has passed. This is completely normal; especially if your loved one has been suffering and for so long.

Mourning and Sudden Loss

In cases of Sudden Loss, the mourning process can be painful. We are told to expect the unexpected, but we never truly expect this. Loss that comes as a sudden shock to us can be harder to overcome. The mourning period for sudden losses are often longer.

Mourning and Predictable Loss

The fact that the passing is anticipated does not make the void that your loved one leaves in your heart any smaller. Loss is painful, in any form. But for these losses, it is easier for mourners to look towards the life of the deceased, rather than the death. Funerals can be celebrations on the life they lived, and the people they touched.
The author of this post is not a professional therapist or counselor. For assistance in finding a grief counselor that is right for you, there are a number of resources out there. For our Grief Resource center, written by Dr. Bill Webster, click here
For almost 50 years, Matthew Funeral Home has been serving the Staten Island community. We can help with almost every aspect of your loved one’s memorial service. Our family is here to serve yours, every step of the way.

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