HIV POSITIVE  Caretakers
Coping With A Loss


In this section, we look at some things we know about grief and dealing with death. We talk about what people can do to help move through the grief process and recover, and where to get help. There are also suggestions for those who want to support grieving people.

Grief is a natural response to loss. Although grief is usually thought of as an emotion that follows a death, it is a process that comes after many kinds of losses. When someone dies, especially following a period of illness, there are many losses to mourn and from which to recover.

Multiple losses deepen grief and drain a person's energies. When someone dies of HIV disease (AIDS), the survivor has probably already experienced many different kinds of losses, often too quickly to fully grieve for them and adjust before another occurs. Health has been lost, perhaps jobs, financial security, energy, good spirits, hope for the future, housing, self-sufficiency, memory and the ability, physical abilities, and many aspects of the relationship - companionship, trust, even love. The way two people relate to each other changes when one becomes more and more dependent, withdrawn, or disinterested. The loneliness and sadness for either or both can be overwhelming.

An additional loss may be the sometimes abrupt severing of relationships with hemophilia treatment center staff. Treatment center staff may have provided important support over a period of years and often no longer have a relationship with you when the person with hemophilia has died. It can be helpful to contact a supportive person from the treatment center and let them know that you need to talk about this. They will often be able to help you find support elsewhere.

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