Dealing with grief and loss
Everyone sooner or later will experience the death of someone they love, will experience grief. The feeling of loss is a normal reaction to grief, we grieve after any sort of loss. The more significant the loss the more we will experience the feeling of grief.
When you lose someone who means a lot to you from your life, whatever the relationship, it hurts, you may wonder if the sadness will ever end. Grief is personal and everyone experiences it in a different way. The grieving process takes time, weeks, months, years it is all on the individual.
Psychiatrists believe that there are different stages of grief, although not everyone goes through them. Below are the suggested stages, though the order and length of time at each stage, varies greatly from person to person.
- Denial The first few hours following the death most people are simply stunned. “This can’t be happening to me”
- Anger Even if the loss is nobody’s fault there may be the feeling of being angry and resentful; the anger could be focused on the individual; the deceased; a nurse or doctor. “Why is this happening? Who is to blame? Why did they leave me?”
- Bargaining Things get tough; the pain becomes overwhelming. So we enter, consciously or unconsciously, into some form of negotiation. This could be with God or even with the devil. We bargain with whomever we feel can relieve our situation “Make this not happen, and in return I will xxxxx”
- Guilt When a loved one dies, feelings of guilt are normal. We may tend to blame ourselves for something we did or didn't do that may have contributed to the death or for things that we wish we did or didn't say or do. “I wanted to tell him I love him” “last time I saw him I said such awful things, I didn’t mean to”
- Depression Most people who lose someone feel sad at the loss, an emptiness, a feeling of loneliness, tearful and emotionally unstable. “I’m too sad to do anything”
- Acceptance You begin to realize that you are moving forward and can once again enjoy life. You will be able to think and talk about your loved one with happiness and a sense of peace. You will learn to accept the death. “I am at peace with what happened”
There is no right or wrong way of grieving – we are all individual
Some myths about grief
- Myth: If you don’t cry, then you don’t really care that the person has died.
Fact: When people are sad they often cry, but not always. Those who do not cry may feel the pain as much as others who do, people just have different ways of dealing with loss.
- Myth: You have to be strong when you have lost someone.
Fact: It is important to show your true feelings, not to bottle things up. People close to you will understand.
- Myth: Pain goes away quicker if you ignore it
Fact: It is important to face the pain of loss, to enable you to deal with it. To ignore this feeling will just make things worse.
- Myth: It takes a year to come to terms with grief and loss.
Fact: Grief is personal to the individual and as such the time it takes will differ, from weeks, months, years.