One of the most challenging life events in life is the loss of a loved one that we all, at some stage, will experience first hand. Depending on the person, the grieving period can be a quick one or may take years and a village to assist one through; both are perfectly acceptable ways to manage the loss of a loved one.
No one can perfectly understand grief as it is messy, painful and complex however it is the body’s natural reaction when we have lost something or someone. Along with the grief often come the related feelings of anxiety, numbness, anger and sadness. We have all heard the break down of the stages but do we know what they mean? Here’s a quick breakdown of the main ones.
Denial: the disbelief that a loved one is gone or that the action has taken place. This can often lead to a state of shock that can take some time for the body to process.
Anger: Human nature is likes to have to understand and place blame when there is no understand which is where anger comes in. The party wants answers and although there may not be any, that’s often not a good enough answer during this time.
Bargaining: Even those who are less religious are likely to call in a favor from anyone just to see their loved one return to them. A natural reaction and one no one can fault them for. This is perhaps one of the most difficult stages as a bystander for there is no room for you give them what they’re asking for.
Depression: It is often seen that after the bargaining stage, the party will turn to a depression state. It is there that all loved ones should be aware and be supportive. While it may not last for a long period of time, there are many services that offer assistance if you believe your loved one needs it.
It is important to note that every single person will process their grief in a different way. While some individuals may turn to religion, others may prefer to return to work, or stay in bed. There is no wrong way to grieve. The most important thing to remember is to be patient with yourself and/or with your loved ones.
If you feel that you or your family may benefit from talking to someone, there are many support groups available. Community bereavement groups often meet in local areas or a talk to your general practitioner will be able to advise you on what they think would be best. It is okay to ask for help.
Anticipate that some things may trigger you into feeling worse. This may be specific dates like birthdays, anniversaries, Mother’s or Father’s Days and that’s completely normal. While the first few may be the hardest, try thinking of fun activates you can do to commemorate them. Make a donation in their name, go to their favourite adventure park, throw a birthday party with family and share the cake around. It won’t always have to be a day to be upset.
Physical actives are known to release tension and bottled up emotion so going on a run you’ve been procrastinating or a walk around a local park with a friend is a wonderful step if you are considering that path.
Above all else, self-care is number one. While grief is a difficult emotion to navigate, eating well, sleeping regularly, and incorporating if you can will help you heal more effectively. Just remember to always be kind to yourself and celebrate your loved one the best you can.