Anton Grdina: Faithful Community Leader

Often, change and improvement doesn’t come from a huge organization or powerful political leader, but rather humble and hardworking locals who care enough about their community to recognize an issue and do something about it. The Cleveland area, especially, is known for these modest leaders—one of which is Anton Grdina. Born in a small Yugoslavian village in 1874, Grdina came to the United States in 1897, settling in the Cleveland area. By 1899 Grdina married Antonia Bizeli and the pair had six children (Anthony, Frank, Catherine, James, Mary, and Joseph). He performed a variety of odd jobs in his local neighborhood before opening his own hardware store in 1904. Grdina found this concept of owning a business quite fulfilling, and decided to expand his entrepreneurial reach by becoming an undertaker and opening Grdina and Sons, Home Furnishers and Funeral Directors in 1928. Being a funeral director, Grdina got to know his community very well, and soon found himself in a variety of community-oriented projects.    Anton_Grdina.jpg

Photo Credit

Grdina helped organize two local Slovenian Banks (Slovenian Building and Loan Association which is now called St. Clair Savings Association, and North American Buildings and Savings Co. which was later renamed North American Bank). Grdina would remain president of North American Bank until his death. In addition to the financial sector, Grdina also helped in the reconstruction efforts following the EAST Ohio Co. Explosion and Fire in 1944. Grdina was part of an organization that bought the sites of destroyed homes and built new homes—over 16 in total! Grdina put forth $5000 out of pocket to aid in the restoration, not to mention countless hours of hard work and dedication. Grdina also served as treasurer of the Cleveland Cultural Gardens Federation from 1926-1957.

Anton Grdina also made sure to stay true to his Yugoslavic roots by taking on several leadership roles in Yugoslavic groups including being president of the Yugoslav Cultural Garden, organizing the Grand Carnolian Slovenian Catholic Union, founding the National Slovene Catholic Union, and being a member in 16 Slovenian lodges. Grdina made history when he became the first U.S. Slovenian to receive the Third Order of the Yugoslav Crown, awarded to him by King Peter in 1938. However, the most notable achievement of Grdina was his knighthood in the Order of St. Gregory—he was inducted under papal decree and dedicated his life to the Catholic faith.

Grdina passed away on December 1, 1957. His dedication to his faith and heritage provides us all with a wonderful example on how to live our lives through dedication to Christ and others. Grdina’s legacy lives on through the projects he aided, as well as the Anton Grdina Investment School (part of the Cleveland Metropolitan School District). Grdina is buried at Calvary Cemetery in Cleveland, OH. (Section #9, Lot #4, Grave #4).

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Post written by Katie Karpinski

Ed Delahanty: Cleveland’s “big hit”

Cleveland is home to some of the best athletic teams in the country—in the past year alone Cleveland has broken records and collected new titles. Not only is Cleveland home to these amazing teams, but Cleveland is also home to some famous and notable athletes—such as Ed Delahanty. Delahanty’s story is one of great success– proving how hard work and dedication pay off. Keep reading to learn more about Ed Delahanty and his MLB career.

 

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“Big Ed” Delahanty

 

Born in Cleveland on October 30th, 1867, Delahanty had a rather normal childhood. Attending Central High School in Cleveland, and attending St. Joseph’s college, Delahanty stayed local for the majority of his early years. When he was 20 years old, Delahanty signed on to play with a minor league team in Wheeling, West Virginia. It wasn’t long before Delahanty was traded and by the end of 1887 he was sent to Philadelphia, PA to play with the Phillies.

In the spring of 1888, Delahanty officially began his career in the major leagues, starting on second base. Over the next five years Delahanty would begin to build his batting average, so much so that in 1892 he hit a ball so hard it broke the pitcher’s ankle! By 1893 Delahanty had a listed 19 home runs and 146 runners batted in—and his performance was only getting better.
It wasn’t until 1899 that Delahanty won his first batting title, boasting a .400 batting average for three years. However, this wasn’t the first notable achievement of Delahanty’s. In 1896 he became the second person to hit four home runs in a single game, and that same year Delahanty also hit 10 consecutive times while at bat.
Delahanty began to play for the Washington Senators in 1902, where he won another batting title—making him the only person to hold a batting title in both the National and American leagues. Delahanty would play for the Senators until his untimely death in 1903. He was buried in Calvary Cemetery in Cleveland, OH (Section #10,Lot #135B ,Grave #7)

 

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Edward Delahanty’s Grave at Calvary Cemetery in Cleveland, OH.

 

At the time of his death, Delahanty had a recorded 101 home runs, 1464 runners batted in, 522 doubles, 185 triples, and 455 stolen bases. One can only imagine what he could have accomplished had he continued in his career!

Post written by Katie Karpinski

Living alone after the death of a spouse

Marriage is a blessed sacrament for a reason. There is no substitution for standing up and confessing your love for another person, all while being showered in the graces of the Holy Spirit. It’s a very beautiful and spiritual experience to be married, which makes the death of a spouse even harder to experience. Marriage is the act of literally sharing your life with someone, physically and spiritually; so when a spouse passes away, it may feel as if a part of yourself has passed away as well. You may not remember what life was like before your spouse, and may be at a total loss on how to carry out your day to day activities. This is normal. Allowing yourself time to grieve and mourn the loss of your spouse is the healthiest thing you can do to assure a healthy transition to life without them. While no one grieves the same way, there are techniques that can help combat feelings of loneliness or desertion following the death of a spouse…

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1. Change can be good.

Living together, couples form certain systems and routines that they perform together, such as making the bed in the morning, going to church each week, or perhaps watching a show at a certain time each night. Immediately following the death of a loved one, and especially a spouse, you may have the tendency to hold onto certain items or routines that remind you of them. With the tragic change that is death, there is a need for certain levels of consistency and normalcy. There is nothing wrong with keeping certain things the same, but it’s also important to recognize that some new routines can be helpful. Whether it’s your morning or nighttime routine, your dinner routine, or even the way you make you coffee, if the old way of doing things doesn’t work anymore, change it! You might be surprised by how empowered and free you may feel with even the smallest of changes.

2. Supplement, don’t replace.

The loneliness felt after the death of a spouse can be hard. After sharing your life with someone and living with them, going home to an empty house at night may feel overwhelming. A great way to combat this feeling is to meet new people. Whether it’s reaching out to family and friends, joining a book club, or attending a Church group, spending time with other people can make you feel more connected and less isolated. While you can never replace your spouse, it’s important to remember the other people you have in your life as well!

3. Appreciate solitude

While it may seem contradictory, having some time to yourself can actually be very beneficial. It gives you time to learn more about yourself, and can open your heart and mind to hearing what God may be trying to tell you. There’s nothing wrong with spending some alone time to figure out who you are as a person, and find out what makes you happy.

Above all else, God is always there for you to listen and comfort. Just as he was present during your marriage ceremony, he is present with you always to offer his grace.

Information gathered from “Living Alone After the Death of a Spouse” by Karen Katafiasz

Post written by Katie Karpinski

What you should know about grave settling

School supplies are on sale, the air is getting cooler, and grocery stores are already selling Halloween candy. That’s right—Autumn is fast approaching! With any change in the seasons, we here at the Catholic Cemeteries Association are placed with the very important task of maintaining our graves, both old and new. Some common questions we hear involve how long it takes for a grave to settle, what the process entails, and the procedure surrounding new burials. You might be surprised by some of the answers! Keep reading to learn what you should know about grave settling.

1. What is grave settling?

Grave settling is the process of the earth (soil, clay, etc.) surrounding the burial readjusting.

2. How long does is take a grave to settle?

The duration of time it takes for a grave to settle varies greatly on the season, type of burial, and other external factors. However, on average its takes about a year for a grave to fully settle.

3. What is the process of leveling a grave?

Directly after the burial, the vault is surrounded by filler. While many cemeteries use only soil, we at the Catholic Cemeteries Association use fill sand to the top of the vault and then soil from the vault to the top of the grave. Sand is much more durable against water and therefore speeds and assists in the settling process. As the grave settles throughout the year, additional soil is added.

4. When will grass be planted?

Grass will be planted on a grave before the grave has settled completely. Typically, the first seed application will occur within a few months of the burial, depending on the season. As the grave continues to settle throughout the year, more soil and seed are applied until the grave is level and the grass has grown in fully. Please keep in mind that grass seed cannot be planted during summer and winter months as the seeds will not germinate. We understand that leveling and seeding can cause distress to a family and we ask for your patience during the process.

5. When can a memorial or monument be placed?

This answer varies depending on the individual situation. Many memorials can be set soon after the burial, weather permitting. The type of memorial (flush or above ground) will also affect how quickly it can be placed on a grave. It is also important to consider the production time of the memorial and if a poured cement foundation is required. Generally, memorials are not able to be set during late fall through early spring.

 

Meaningful Music: NEED YOU NOW by Plumb

Debuting her first album “Plumb” in 1997, Tiffany Lee is no stranger to the Christian music scene. Having sold over 500,000 albums, and touring across the country, her music is well known by anyone who tunes into Christian radio. Her single “Need you now” is her most popular song to date, and for obvious reasons. The intensity and pure desperation portrayed in the song is an audible mirror—causing listeners to acknowledge their own reliance and dependence on God. Let’s take a closer look at this song that has remained at the top of the charts for over 5 years!

 

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Photo Credit

 

Here’s a peak at the first verse:
Well, everybody’s got a story to tell
And everybody’s got a wound to be healed
I want to believe there’s beauty here
‘Cause oh, I get so tired of holding on
I can’t let go, I can’t move on
I want to believe there’s meaning here

This first verse does a great job of highlighting how unique each person is; we each have “a story to tell.” Even more so, we all have unique struggles, or problems that we must learn to bring to the Lord. Only he can “heal our wounds” as the song suggests. Lee sings about the hardship of finding the goodness in the struggle, meaning in the suffering. She talks about being too tired to hold on, but how she can’t let go—something that is all too relatable. Often when we find ourselves in stressful situations, we try desperately to find the solutions ourselves instead of passing our worries onto the Lord. Imagine how much time and worry we would save if we immediately cast our cares to God? As the chorus winds up, Lee reminds us how reliant we are on God, who is the ONLY one who can solve our problems.

How many times have you heard me cry out
“God please take this?”
How many times have you given me strength to
Just keep breathing?
Oh I need you
God, I need you now 

This very raw and emotional chorus conveys so much—fear, anger, sadness, reliance, and even hope. Lee strips down her pride, and shows us all what it’s like to completely surrender to God’s will. “I need you” is repeated over and over again, not just in the chorus, but throughout the whole song, reinforcing the idea of God’s supreme yet merciful control. Take some time today to listen to the complete song, and after take some time reflect on what you can offer up to God.

Check out the full song here!

Post written by Katie Karpinski

 

Frankie Yankovic: America’s Polka King

It’s no secret that Cleveland is home to a happening polka scene. Whether you’re at the Happy Dog café on polka night, or at your own neighborhood pub—polka music is a huge part of Cleveland culture. Several notable polka figures got their start in Cleveland, but most notable of all is Frankie Yankovic. Whether you’re familiar with the Polka King or not, keep reading to learn about this legendary Cleveland figure.

 

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Frankie Yankovic

 

Frankie Yankovic was born on July 28, 1915. Born in West Virginia, Yankovic’s parents were both Slovene immigrants, who met at a lumber camp. Yankovic’s father moved the family to Cleveland after experiencing some troubles with the local authorities. Frankie was still rather young at the time of the move, but this didn’t stop him from discovering a world that would eventually lead to his amazing fame.

Upon moving to Cleveland, Yankovic was introduced to brass bands; his main exposure happened to be during Slovenian festivals and social events. At the time, his mother had started to rent out rooms in their home to make some extra money. One of these tenants happened to be Max Zelodec who was a Slovenian performer. Yankovic had previously obtained an accordion, and Zelodec was able to give Yankovic a few lessons before moving out.

By the time Yankovic reached his teenage years in the 1920’s his talent was earning him money by playing at community events and social functions. Just ten years later in the 1930’s, Yankovic branched out into the radio industry, making appearances on a variety of networks such as WJAY and WGAR. Despite his rising popularity, Yankovic still had a hard time signing a record deal. In fact, Yankovic paid for his first few records out of pocket!

Yankovic married in 1940. It wasn’t long before the couple started having children, and with that came a tighter budget. Yankovic’s music was no longer able to support his growing family, and so he opened a tavern called the Yankovic Bar. It was very popular among musicians, and Yankovic wouldn’t sell it until 1948 when he would resurge his career on the accordion.

Many people don’t know that Yankovic enlisted in 1943 to assist in the war effort, all while producing albums! Fighting in the Battle of the Bulge, Yankovic got a severe case of frostbite that almost resulted in him losing his hands and feet—luckily that didn’t happen and he made a full recovery and was then assigned to entertain the armed forces. One audience even included General George Patton and his army!

In 1947 Yankovic finally started to gain some national attention. By 1949 he earned two platinum singles— “Just Because” and “Skirt Waltz.” Success followed Yankovic after that, and he would earn the title “America’s Polka King” after defeating Louis Bashell, Romy Gosz, Harold Loeffelmacher, and the Six Fat Dutchmen, Whoopee John Wilfahrt, and Lawrence Duchow in a Battle of the Bands in 1948.

 

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One of Yankovic’s albums

 

Yankovic would win his Grammy award for his album “70 Years of Hits” in 1986, and he was the first artist to win an award in the Polka category. Yankovic would later partner with Weird Al Yankovic—while the two are not related, both obtained large amounts of success and fame through their polka style music.

Frankie Yankovic passed away on October 14, 1998 due to heart failure. He is buried in Calvary Cemetery, in Cleveland Ohio. (Section 114, Lot 507, Grave 9). Having sold 30 million records throughout his life, Yankovic is still the best known polka artist in the country. What a legacy to leave!

Information gathered from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frankie_Yankovic
Post written by Katie Karpinski

3 things men should know about grieving

Grief is much like a natural disaster—it’s unpredictable and doesn’t discriminate. It effects men and women, young and old, rich and poor. The only aspect of grief that can be controlled is how it’s handled by the individual, and that’s where some differences can occur.
While society may be trending towards more accepting gender standards, men are still faced with the constant assumption that “big boys don’t cry.” While this philosophy may work well during a sports game, it shouldn’t be accepted in all facets of life—particularity in regards to grieving. Men have the natural tendency to downplay uncomfortable feelings, expecting the feelings to just go away if ignored long enough. In other cases, men may acknowledge the negative feeling, but still not partake in proper coping mechanisms. Instead of experiencing grief, they try to speed the process which is exactly what NOT to do when grieving. We all need some guidance when it comes to grieving– men might need a little extra. Take a look at these 3 things men should know about grieving. Whether it’s you or someone you know, these tips will assist in a healthy grieving process and hopefully bring some comfort.

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1. Grieving is a process

Men are notorious for finding quick solutions. They are fixers, it’s what they do. To have something broken for too long makes them anxious, which is why grieving can be so difficult for some. When you lose a loved one, part of your heart breaks. Unlike home repair projects, this damage can’t be fixed with super glue or a call to a repairman. It takes time. Grieving is process that requires patience, both with yourself and those around you. It’s important to slow down and understand that you cannot fix this alone, and it won’t mend overnight.

2. It’s okay to not have it “together”

Whether you’re a father, husband, brother, uncle, or even just a close friend, men are often seen as the primary defenders and providers for their family and friends. They are born into leadership roles, and because of this they have people depending on them constantly. This certainly places pressure on men who are trying to be everything to everyone. While grieving, life can become hectic and confusing. Even more so, the emotional and physical turmoil one experiences can be disorienting in themselves. You may feel bad if you can’t be that provider all the time, but do not feel guilty. Instead, embrace your humanity and learn to rely on others as they have always relied on you. Also, don’t forget to rely on God who will never forsake you.

3. It’s okay to cry

Men are taught at a young age that crying is not acceptable. This is mainly attributed to the connection of crying with weakness. However, crying is a sign of strength and courage. Tearing down those emotional barriers and unapologetically expressing your feelings is a brave thing to do. Even more so, crying can be extremely helpful in the grieving process. Crying releases endorphins which can elevate your mood and energy. Crying is also a healthy way to express sadness, anger, or loss—so why keep it in?

 

Post written by Katie Karpinski
Information gathered from “Handling Grief as a Man” by Bob Miller.

William Foster: Medal of Honor Recipient

American culture has always been drawn toward superheroes, just look at the recent movie releases. With all this hero hype, we sometimes forget that heroes aren’t just supernatural fictional characters, but very real people with very real stories. One such hero is William Foster, a U.S. Marine who was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions during the Battle of Okinawa. Keep reading to learn more about Foster and his heroic actions.

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William Foster, Private 1st Class, United States Marine Corp.

 

Born on February 17th 1915 in Garfield Heights, OH, Foster attended a vocational high school where he majored in machinist’s subjects. Shortly after graduating, he was employed as a shaper at Cleveland’s Star Machine and Tool Company. He was also a member of the Ohio National Guard for six years before being enlisted in the Marine Corps Reserve through the selective service program in April 1944.
After receiving basic training in San Diego and intensive combat training at Camp Pendleton, Foster was sent overseas to the Russell Islands where he rejoined his usual unit (Company K, 3rd Battalion 1st Marines, 1st Marines Division). From there, Foster would find himself placed in one of the most legendary battles of WWII. On April 1st, 1945 (which happened to be Foster’s first anniversary of enlistment in the Marine Corps and Easter Sunday) Foster’s unit landed on the island of Okinawa, while the infamous battle was occurring. It was there that Foster would perform the act that would later earn him a Medal of Honor.
Foster and another marine were in the midst of an intense hand grenade duel with Japanese combats. Fighting from foxholes, an enemy grenade landed in Foster’s and fellow marines foxhole, and wasn’t within timely reach. Without any regard for his own safety, Foster leapt on the grenade, absorbing the full blow and saving his fellow solider. While Foster survived the initial impact, he passed away shortly after from wounds afflicted by the blast.
About a year later, on August 19th, 1946 the Commandant of the Marine Corps, Alexander A Vandegrift presented Foster’s parents with the Medal of Honor at Cleveland’s City Hall. Foster was originally buried at the 1st Marine Division Cemetery on Okinawa. However, in 1949 his remains were recovered and re interred in Calvary Cemetery in Cleveland, OH (Section 60, Lot 53, Grave 2) next to fellow Medal of Honor recipient John R Towle. (Read more about Towle here)
Being only 30 years old at the time of his death, Foster’s legacy lives on. One can see his name around the city of Garfield Heights, and a branch of the Garfield Heights public school system carries his name sake. It’s important to remember fallen heroes such as Foster, who gave everything for their country.

 

Post written by Katie Karpinski
Information gathered from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_A._Foster

Joseph Haworth: Early American Actor

America is enamored with celebrities. We read magazines to keep up with their lives, follow them on Facebook, and buy products that they endorse. However, things weren’t always this way. Back in the early 1800’s, theater was considered “unholy” and was seen as a rather scandalous business. Being an actor didn’t come with the praise and frills that we see today, making it hard for thespians to make a living in the industry. However, as the 1850’s approached and plays like “Uncle Tom’s Cabin”, a play which supported Christian abolitionist teaching, the theater began to regain some of its lost reputation. This slight rise in theatrical popularity was exactly what a young Joseph Haworth needed to make his first leap into the theater industry.
Born in 1855 to Benjamin and Martha Haworth, Joseph was the oldest of the five Haworth children. By 1865, the family experienced several dramatic changes. The Civil War ended; however, Benjamin Haworth, a surveyor for the Union Army, did not live to see this new era as he died in a Confederate prison camp shortly before the cease-fire. For young Joseph, this resulted in him leaving school to provide for his family. The family moved to Cleveland, OH, where Joseph found a job working in a newspaper office. While Joseph was thankful for the position, his true passion was the theater.

 

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Portrait of Joseph Haworth;  Photo Credit

 

Earlier in 1865, Joseph saw his very first theatrical performance, “The Count of Monte Cristo.” This experience instantly captivated Joseph, and when he moved to Cleveland he pursued several different acting opportunities. Being so young and having minimal experience, he was turned down time and time again. Haworth didn’t let his denial squelch his love of entertaining though. After a day’s work at the newspaper office, Haworth was often invited to neighbors’ homes to tell interesting stories and perform short skits. He gained local recognition as an amateur entertainer. These visits paid off, as when Haworth was 18 years old he was finally offered a position at the Academy of Music in Cleveland, which was one of the most respected theater companies in the nation at the time. The gig was minor; Haworth was only to recite a few pieces of poetry. But these few poetry readings were enough to land Haworth favorable reviews in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, and soon Haworth worked his way up to acting with several well-known stars at the time such as Fanny Januschek, Anna Dickinson, Lawrence Barrett, and Edwin Booth.

On May 10th, 1878 at just 22 years old, Haworth played the title role in “Hamlet”. His performance was praised by the Plain Dealer which said, “No young actor could have felt more pride in the appreciation of his abilities and merits than Joseph S. Haworth last evening.” Shortly after this newsworthy performance, Haworth decided to leave the Academy (now called the Euclid Avenue Opera House) and joined the Boston Museum Acting Company, which was known the be the finest acting company in the country. Haworth had a growing national presence by the time he moved to Boston, and his time there was one of great growth. He continued to land significant roles and his popularity steadily grew. Eventually, he was the offered the position as Lead Actor, but turned it down to pursue opportunities in New York City.

 

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Playbill from one of Haworth’s roles as supporting actor; Photo Credit 

 

While in New York, Haworth met John McCullough; a well-known actor and future mentor for Haworth. The two became like father and son, McCullough always insisting that Haworth pursue artistic passions instead of commercial gains. The two acted in several productions together before McCullough passed away in 1884. Even before McCullough’s passing, Haworth had landed several solo roles, and his name appeared often in the New York Times. With his raising star power, and loss of his very close mentor, Haworth decided to move back to Cleveland to recoup in 1895. He didn’t reenter the theater scene until 1896 when he moved around the country in a series of Shakespearean plays. Towards the end of 1886, Haworth opened at the New York Grand Opera House in a performance of “Hoodman Blind.” As if Haworth wasn’t already famous, this performance heightened his fame even more, making him one of the hottest young stars in the country.

With the emergence of Broadway in the 1900’s, Haworth would continue to act for a few years before dying of congestive heart failure on April 30th, 1903. It’s speculated that this heart failure was brought on by over-exertion, something that is all too common among entertainers. Haworth is buried at St. John Cemetery, in Cleveland, OH. (Section 11, Level 3, Lot 1 PT 5)

Post written by Katie Karpinski

3 common behaviors you may experience while grieving

Grieving is a very difficult and personal process. It varies greatly from person to person, scenario to scenario. The way people handle grief is truly specific to the individual; however, there are some common behaviors and symptoms that you may experience while grieving. Understanding these behaviors can help you and those you care about handle grief in a healthy way. Not only that, but knowing that certain behaviors are common can help combat feelings of isolation or loneliness that often emerge after the loss of a loved one. Keep reading to learn more about 3 common behaviors you may experience while grieving.

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1. Change in lifestyle patterns

After the loss of a loved one, it is normal to experience some changes in sleeping and eating patterns. Perhaps, when you try to lie down and go to bed you are greeted with anxious thoughts, or when it’s time for dinner you don’t seem to have an appetite. Whatever the case may be, it is completely normal to have these patterns disrupted. If these symptoms begin to seriously affect your life, counseling or a visit to your doctor can be helpful. However, in most cases these disruptions go away with time.

2. Forgetfulness or Confusion

When you lose someone, you are forced to accept a new reality. This adjustment can be difficult, and can cause confusion or forgetfulness. You are living in a different world, one that you have no experience navigating yet. Be patient with yourself, and give yourself time to readjust. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and reach out to friends and family for additional support. Remember that this period of confusion is temporary, and will lessen with time.

3. Physical Responses

Grief is believed by many to be an emotional pain; however, grief can also cause some physical reactions. For example, a tightness in the chest and throat, low energy and weakness, dry mouth, restlessness, and sensitivity to noise and light are all common physical symptoms of grief. These effects may be frustrating at times, and cause you to feel detached or even ill, but just remember these are all temporary conditions. Go easy on yourself and listen to what your body tells you. Just as you need time to mentally and emotionally adjust, your body needs some time to heal as well.

 

 

Information gathered from What’s Really “Normal” When You’re Grieving by Robert Zucker.
Copyright Abby Press, St. Meinrad, Indiana 2004
Post written by Katie Karpinski