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Friday, February 19, 2016

How to deal with the loss of a loved one (the stages of grief)

As we get older we all experience loss throughout our life. Death is as much a part of reality as life itself. Although live can bring us many surprises and many choices have to be made along the path of existence, there is one thing we cannot choose; the time of our death and the fact that a friend or family member once must die as well. This unfortunate faith is in the best of times hard to accept. It is not uncommon that people no matter how strong they might have been have difficulties coping with a loss. It is of great importance that after someone lost a loved one the mourner accomplice the process of grieving.

Task one: Acceptance the reality of loss.

The first task is to accept that the person has died. The person is gone and will not come back. In the beginning, just after the death it is quite normal to put a plate out for the deceased or to make a telephone call to tell the deceased some news. We need to get used to what happened. Everyone is different and need more or less time to go through this stage than others. As long as the mourner realizes that person is not longer alive anymore. It takes time to come to terms with what happened. Rituals like the funeral may help mourners to move towards acceptance.

Task two: Work through the pain of grief.

It is necessary to acknowledge and to go through the psychological pain. If this is delayed or ignored the person will manifest symptoms and behaviors, like depression, anger, psycho-somatic pains, or other. Therefore a bereaved person should not be afraid of his or her emotions in the days after the death has taken place. A perfect option to express these feelings is at the funeral and directly after one hears the bad news. At the wake or after the funeral is good to talk to the people attending, in order to console each other.

However not everyone is able to do this and has difficulties expression themselves. These are usually the people who keep busy with tending to the guests and hid themselves in the kitchen to tidy up, or sit quietly in a corner. They might think that they have to keep it together for the ‘weaker’ members of the family, like the children, but nothing is further from the truth. By denying their feelings they only prolong the process and in the long run it’s not only themselves that suffer but also the children. It is at stage two that many people get lost with a severe depression as a result. When involved in a depression it is far more difficult to work through the pain of bereavement.

Task three: Adjusting to the environment in which the deceased is missing.

Depending on the relationship the mourner had with the deceased this can be a very daunting task. Often one has to learn new skills such as dealing with the finance, learn how to cook or talking with authority figures. Other practical adjustments when losing a partner have to be made as well, like sleeping alone in a big cold bed, or cooking less food. A person might have to learn new social skills, as the lost of a partner or close friend might leave the person on its own or with little or no friends. The longer the relationship the harder this is. Therefore it might be necessary to seek help with this task. One can seek help for the practical things and do a course and one can become a member of a group in order to get support and assist each other.

Task four: To emotionally relocate the deceased and move on with life.

As the title suggest; in this task the survivor learn to give the deceased a different place in their heart. Some people say, “He still has a special place in my heart.” That is good, because there is no need to forget the person you loved, although one cannot reach or touch that person any longer and therefore room must be made for other people or for another special person. It is impossible to forget a deceased there will always be memories of this person and it is alright to think and talk about the deceased from time to time. Another thing which is good is keep a photograph of this person in the living room. It might take some time before a survivor is ready to emotionally relocate the deceased and this task should not be rushed by outsiders.

This last task can be hindered when people want to hold on to the past. For many people this is the most difficult task to accomplish, they get stuck in this task and in the past. Nevertheless there is enough place in our heart to love a new person and doing so doesn’t mean that we forget the deceased.

When is mourning finished?

The process of mourning is finished when the survivor is able to think and talk about the deceased without emotional pain. How long this will take depends on the relationship.

Calm After the Storm
by A.N. Flores

darkness fades
suns rise
skies clear
storms die

wounds heal
spirits fly
souls hope
hearts sigh

stories end
dreams die
you're gone
I survive

More poems

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