Grief is painful, especially when it is sudden or unanticipated. Sudden or unanticipated deaths include heart attacks, strokes, postoperative deaths, allergic reactions, sudden infant death as well as others. When grief is associated with sudden or unanticipated death, complicated grief is a viable reality. When death is sudden or unexpected, survivors will be ill prepared for the experiences that will follow. The lack of forewarning robs the mourner of appropriate time to anticipate and prepare for the grief that follows the passing of a significant loved one. Sudden, accidental, unexpected and traumatic death, shatters life, as we know it. These deaths do not make since, they are unfair and they leave us feeling shaken, insecure and vulnerable. Not only must we overcome the grief of our loss, we must also deal with the fear and insecurities of the impending changes that will most assuredly follow. Without forewarning, we will not have had ample time to process and prepare for these changes. The opportunity for developing alternative plans for continued obligations, such as rearing of children, college tuition for those children etc. will not have happened. Losses of income, loss of ones home and loss of social standing are viable concerns that will not have established recovery plans for the survivor.
The issues from sudden or unanticipated death, set the survivor up for an extended or complicated grief experience. In such circumstances, survivors will need extra support and understanding from family and friends. Support groups can be of some value, as well as spiritual foundations and counseling.
Traumatic deaths bring even more difficulties for the survivor. Traumatic deaths are those involving violence, mutilation, destruction, multiple deaths, random deaths and those where the survivor suffered near death. Traumatic deaths fit into the same category of sudden and unanticipated deaths however, recovery from this type of death is even more difficult and severe. Traumatic deaths bring fears and phobias that can be extremely extended, difficult to understand and require intense recovery techniques. Traumatic death fears and phobias can add recovery time and require more intense techniques, which the survivor may not be able to identify or understand without professional intervention. Often, traumatic deaths involve the justice system and social services will intervene and offer counseling for survivors that are under the age of accountability.
If you or someone you know or love has suffered a sudden, unanticipated or traumatic death, please seek out support systems to assist with coping and recovery from this terrifying and egregious experience. Due to the emotional and psychological trauma accompanying these categorically related deaths, the added stigma of victimization must be considered. Recovery perils may loom about creating problems the survivor might be ill equipped to surmount alone. In extreme cases, possible psychosis creates a strong argument for professional assistance before it presents itself.
My name is Tracy Renee Lee. I am a funeral director, author and freelance writer. I write books, weekly bereavement articles, and mid-week grief briefs related to understanding and coping with grief. It is my life's work to comfort the bereaved and help them live on.