According to the National Institute of Health, the sudden death of a family member is one of the most painful emotional experiences a person can face. “Shock, anguish, loss, anger, guilt, regret, anxiety, fear, loneliness, unhappiness, depression, intrusive images, depersonalization, and the feeling of being overwhelmed are but a few of the sentient states grieving people often describe….Healthy, generally adaptive people likely have not experienced such an emotional roller coaster, and typically find the intense, uncontrollable emotionalism of acute grief disconcerting or even shameful or frightening. The National Institute of Health
It’s almost six weeks since the sudden death of my Sister.
I went to Richmond for her funeral and quickly returned to San Francisco.
For a few days, I was fine and resumed blogging.
Then came grief, identity confusion, immobilizing depression, anxiety,
People with chronic illnesses must learn to cope with the normal stress of everyday life while managing symptoms that range from chronic pain to chronic psychosis.
Because I have DID I grieve on multiple levels of consciousness.
For most of our lives, my Sister was a confusing source of comfort
Within days of her birth, our Mother grew more erratic and violent.
One Spring morning I watched my Mother shake my newborn Sister
while screaming that she hated her.
My Sister cried so my Mother tenderly stroked her and cooed that
she loved her until my Sister’s crying stopped.
Then my Mother shook her again and screamed at her until my
The pain of our abuse made my Sister and me afraid of each other.
She needed to pretend the abuse never happened.
As her Brother, I knew too much.
The grief response following sudden loss is often intensified since there is little to no opportunity to prepare for the loss, say good-bye, finish unfinished business or prepare for bereavement. Families and friends are suddenly forced to face the loss of a loved one instantaneously and without warning. This type of loss can generate intense grief responses such as shock, anger, guilt, sudden depression, despair, and hopelessness.
Journey of Hearts
My alternates knew and loved my Sister in different ways.
Each grieves a different version of Sandy.
To Robby, she was a playmate.
To Bobby she was the little Sister he had to protect.
To Sara my Sister is the model for how she as an ‘inner’ sister
should protect her family of brothers.
Each alternate grieves with different memories and
degrees of intensity.
The most agonizing and crippling grief is Robby’s.
He feels he has lost his first and only friend.
Alters also process grief and loss in age appropriate ways. Even though the main person is an adult, younger parts can grieve in ways a child would. They may not have an adult understanding of death and loss because they are, essentially, children. It’s important to acknowledge these differences and work with alters in age-appropriate ways, as you would for any other person grieving a loss.
(c) Rob Goldstein 2017 All Rights Reserved