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Dealing with grief and loss

I lost a loved one of mine a few months ago. It was one of the hardest deaths I have ever faced and it hit me like a ton of bricks. It was completely unexpected and has been incredibly difficult to deal with. Losing someone is indescribable. When I heard the news over the phone, it felt like my heart got ripped right out of my chest, but grief is not the same for everyone.

Many people attest to experiencing the five stages of grief, also known as the Kübler-Ross model. The stages are:

  • Denial
  • Anger
  • Bargaining
  • Depression
  • Acceptance

You may not feel experience all of these stages and they do not necessarily occur in the order listed above. Grief creates a broad spectrum of emotions and everyone is unique in how they deal with grief.

The length of time and intensity each person spends on each stage varies from person to person.

The denial stage includes not being able to face the reality that someone has passed away. It is used to protect ourselves from dealing with a situation or emotions that we don’t want to face.

Anger can be used to place blame on the loved one who passed for dying. This anger can be redirected towards other people in one’s life, ourselves, or inanimate objects in order to manage the grief.

Bargaining allows us to regain control. One will ask what would have happened if they managed to get medical attention sooner, or what they could have done in the past to prevent this situation, etc.

Depression is also common with grief. It allows one to mourn and feel the sadness for the loss one has just faced.

Acceptance finally allows one to come to terms with their loss. Time doesn’t make the loss stop hurting, but it is often associated with accepting the loss and finding some peace.

There is no universal solution to dealing with grief and there is no “cure” for grief.

The first week my grandfather died, I cried all the time. If I was ever alone or not being distracted, I was on the verge of tears because all the sadness would come rushing back. After that initial period, I was fine until the day of the funeral. The second I saw my grandfather in the open casket I couldn’t stop crying.

Since then, I have been dealing with the loss as best as I can. However, there are triggers that will spark up the sadness again. Whenever I visit the mausoleum, or the first time I saw my grandfather’s empty nursing home room, or was in a church that reminded me of his funeral I automatically start crying. And that’s okay. It is okay that this still happens. Grief is a continuous process that I will learn how to deal with as best as I can.

One thing that can help the grieving process is talking about your feelings with someone. We are here to listen, by phone, chat, text and email.

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