Grief study

A blog reader sent this link to me: about a study suggesting that grief shortens the lifespan. This is in relation to my noticing the ages of missing persons’ parents when they die, and my own speculation that having a missing child shortens the lifespan. Certainly there’s grief there. As well as uncertainty.

I don’t know if my brother’s death has had an impact on my parents’ health or not. (He was killed in a car accident 23 years ago, at the age of seventeen.) Obviously it’s impossible to predict what my parents would be like if were still alive, but they’re both in their sixties and quite healthy, physically. Dad’s got some asthma-related problems, but he’s always had them.

7 thoughts on “Grief study

  1. Justin September 16, 2011 / 11:52 pm

    Unresolved negative feelings can definitely affect a person’s health. I think there is a reason why many religions stress that you need to forgive the people who wronged you, not for their sake, but for yours in order to let go of all that pain that is probably holding you back from being happy.

    Of course, some people cling to that anger and grief because they don’t have anything else and feel powerless without it. I’ve met people like that.

  2. Saffy September 17, 2011 / 12:04 am

    maybe it depends on what happens…for instance, i think if a child dies a violent death like accident, homicide, etc or goes missing for a long time and then turns up dead…I am sure that the strain and grief can have physical consequences. But a child who dies from an illness, while it’s no less tragic, the family has time to prepare for it and go through a grieving process, they know where the body is, they have closure.
    I don’t know what happened with your brother, although i am sorry about your loss. Maybe whatever it was, your family was able to grieve normally? I’m just guessing….

    • Meaghan September 17, 2011 / 12:12 am

      Well, although a car accident is sudden, the family did have a chance to say goodbye because he was on life support for two days.

      I was only two and a half at the time but I remember it, a little. I remember the funeral. Of course I didn’t really know what was going on.

  3. Princess Shantae September 17, 2011 / 11:41 am

    I see all the time where an old couple has been together for a long time. Then one of them dies and the one who lives starts failing right after. Its very sad and it happens more often than it doesn’t.

  4. KER September 17, 2011 / 7:13 pm

    i agree with all of the comments…anything that will calm you will lessen the stress and contribute to a longer life…that said i have to comment that the stress of not knowing what happened and the grieving that brings add extra stressors that play havoc on our bodies and immune systems…also with grief you can die of a broken heart…that is fact…studies…yada…and i think in some cases just the yearning to “know” what happened to a missing or murdered love one hastens death…that we might find out on the otherside

  5. Princess Shantae September 17, 2011 / 9:43 pm

    Even animals can die of a broken heart. My dad had a pair of ducks when he was growing up, and after a few years one duck was killed by a fox or dog or something, they never found out what. The other duck quit eating and just faded away and died within a couple weeks.

    • Kat September 17, 2011 / 10:27 pm

      I hear ya. I have eight cats. We are the Brady Bunch of cats. I had two, my husband (then my soon to be) had three (one for each kid), and we’ve adopted three since 2005. Eight. They all get along just fine, though there’s a wee bit of messing with each other all the time. I call it grumpy kitty syndrome. Six of them are in the seven to ten year age range. The other two are five now. They love my son and he loves them. I can only imagine what is going to happen when in a few years they start passing away…if one goes, there will be other, been together all their lives.

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