We are deeply sorry for your loss and understand the unique challenges you’re facing. Aortic dissection is often unheard of until it affects someone close to us. The confusion surrounding the sudden loss of a loved one to aortic dissection can be overwhelming, particularly when they appeared healthy and showed no signs of illness beforehand. Gaining a clearer understanding of what aortic dissection involves may provide some comfort and help you process your loved one’s passing.
The grieving process following the loss of a loved one to aortic dissection can be particularly complex due to the sudden and unexpected nature of the condition. As you navigate this difficult time, it is important to recognise and accept the range of emotions you may experience, including shock, disbelief, anger, guilt, and sadness. Understanding the stages of grief can help provide a framework to process these emotions, but remember that everyone’s journey through grief is unique. Give yourself permission to feel your emotions and allow yourself the time and space to heal at your own pace.
When faced with sudden bereavement, you may experience various reactions, which are normal and part of the grieving process. Recognising these reactions as normal can help you cope. You might feel the deceased is still present, experience disbelief upon waking up, feel overwhelmed, struggle with concentration or communication, or worry about more losses occurring. It’s common to feel stressed, angry, or have frightening dreams. You might also wish you had spent more time with the person before their passing or expressed your love more frequently.
Physical reactions, such as feeling jumpy, tense, restless, or experiencing aches, pains, or sleep and appetite disruptions, are also normal. It’s not uncommon to feel misunderstood or lonely. Acknowledging and understanding these reactions can help you navigate this challenging time.
Julia Samuel MBE, a renowned counsellor and leading psychotherapist in the UK, has dedicated her career to helping bereaved children. In 2015, she was awarded an MBE for her services. As the Founder Patron of Child Bereavement UK and Vice President of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy, Julia has also authored three bestselling books: Grief Works, This Too Shall Pass, and Every Family Has a Story.
Sasha Bates, a psychotherapist and yoga teacher, faced the sudden loss of her husband and best friend, Bill, to aortic dissection in 2017. Turning to writing as a means of coping and connecting with others in similar situations, Sasha’s journey through grief underscores the importance of emotional support, self-care, and honouring the memory of lost loved ones.