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Pastoral Care Library

UAB Pastoral Care in the News

Grief Resouces

Since the death of your loved one, your journey through grief has most likely felt like an emotional roller coaster. We are still here for you at UAB Hospital and UAB Pastoral Care, and we want to continue to offer you our support.

The following resources may help you understand many of the different ways grief can affect your life.  There is information related to grief support groups offered in the Birmingham area, and guidance on where to turn for support if you live outside of Birmingham. We’ve also provided a list of books and websites that maybe useful to you.

Should you wish to contact someone here at the hospital, please call us at UAB Pastoral Care at 205-934-4254.


Understanding Grief  — The Booklet (Click on the title to open the booklet in PDF format)

Physical Effects

  • Shock
  • Numbness
  • Increased heart rate
  • Tightness in the chest and throat
  • Dry mouth
  • Feelings of fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Weight gain/loss
  • Headaches, muscle aches, or stomach problems
  • Depleted immune system, leading to more colds, flu, and allergies
  • A feeling of “aching arms” after the loss of an infant

How you can help yourself:  see your doctor regularly; get healthy diet; avoid alcohol, caffeine, and drugs; exercise; get a good nights sleep.

Mental Effects

Times of grace, sudden and drastic emotional changes are very calm.Services Joyce is like a song or a smell eating certain foods may trigger memories of your loved one, resulting in an intense emotional reactions.

  • Crying without warning and for no apparent reason
  • Feeling moody and irritable
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Feeling isolated from friends and family
  • Feelings of relief, sometimes followed by feelings of guilt

How you can help yourself:  Allow time for your emotions to surface:  write your feelings down in a journal; write songs or poetry; listen to music that helps express your emotions; seek positive influences; give yourself permission to laugh and feel happy.

Emotional Effects

Allow yourself to feel what you are feeling when you feel it.  Whether you are mad, sad, glad, or afraid, go ahead and name it and feel it.  This is the path through grief to feel it, otherwise those feelings will wait until you allow them to be expressed or named.

Walk at your own pace with your grief.  Some persons may try to hurry you up or slow you down through your grief.  You have your own pace, and only you knows what feels right.

Teach others how to listen to your grief by saying, “Right now, I just need someone to listen to how how I am feeling without trying to fix it, or judge it.  Can you do that for me?”  When we feel heard and understood what our grief is like for us, these are steps of healing.