The way grief memory imprints on the human brain is important because it helps keep the moment vivid and remembered for a long period. While during acute grieving this poses issues for healing, in the long term, it keeps the precious memories of the loved one intact far stronger. No-one wishes to lose the memory of a loved one. In fact, many go to lengthy processes to keep the memory alive. Keeping a certain object, clothing, or journaling are all ways individuals try to keep the memory strong. Fortunately the brain keeps it strong as well.
The Hippocampus and the Amygdala play a key role in keeping the emotion imprinted. The Amygdala processes emotion to the Hippocampus sometimes in intense ways that even bypass longer cognitive thought in a more direct route. The Hippocampus imprints these types of emotional images and for long term. The Cortex also imprints these images. Unfortunately, sometimes trauma and intense grief can cause PTSD where these images are fragmented and never properly processed. These are not the types of long term grief memories we want.
The video below discusses how grief and memory interact with other. Please also review AIHCP’s Grief Counseling Certification and see if it meets your academic and professional goals.