Traumatic injury may suddenly result in the loss of a loved one. In the immediate aftermath, some may be numb or unable to accept the loss. Many may also feel shocked, lost, anxious, depressed, and physically unwell. For many, the pain can be intense and unrelenting.
In the acute aftermath of the violent death of a loved one, a sense of disbelief or intense, uncontrollable emotionality is very frequent. Distressing physical symptoms are also common. These emotional and bodily reactions may be very strong and can be traumatizing, especially if they are unfamiliar and unexpected. It is important to realize that intense and unfamiliar emotions are entirely normal and does not necessarily have implications for long-term emotional stability or health. The fact that a popular Internet book site lists 2,776 titles on the topic attests to the fact that grief is both common and difficult.
In ordinary, peaceful times millions of people die every year, each leaving friends and family bereaved. For most, this initial reaction subsides with time, and the bereaved person finds a way to again engage fully in life. However, studies show bereaved individuals, in general, are at risk for longer term mental and physical health problems. It is a good idea to provide ongoing support, monitor the outcome of grief, and know that professional intervention can be helpful.