Allow yourself to mourn.
When we lose someone, mourning is a natural part of accepting and coming to terms with the loss. It is a healing process. One in which we will experience in many ways. Permitting yourself to mourn will help you get rid of some of the pain.
Elisabeth Kübler-Ross wrote on the five stages of grieving. She notes the stages are not fixed they are just a guide to help us come to terms with bereavement, loss or trauma. It is also important to note that they are not experience in a liner fashion. We all experience them differently. We don’t always experience all five stages either. We are all individuals that live vastly different lives. We will grieve different as well. Here are the five stages of grief.
Denial Denial is a conscious or unconscious refusal to accept facts, information, reality, etc., relating to the situation concerned. It’s a defense mechanism and perfectly natural. Some people can become locked in this stage when dealing with a traumatic change that can be ignored. Death of course is not particularly easy to avoid or evade indefinitely.
Anger Anger can manifest in different ways. People dealing with emotional upset can be angry with themselves, and/or with others, especially those close to them. Knowing this helps keep detached and non-judgemental when experiencing the anger of someone who is very upset.
Bargaining Traditionally the bargaining stage for people facing death can involve attempting to bargain with whatever God the person believes in. People facing less serious trauma can bargain or seek to negotiate a compromise. For example “Can we still be friends?..” when facing a break-up. Bargaining rarely provides a sustainable solution, especially if it’s a matter of life or death.
Depression Also referred to as preparatory grieving. In a way it’s the dress rehearsal or the practice run for the ‘aftermath’ although this stage means different things depending on whom it involves. It’s a sort of acceptance with emotional attachment. It’s natural to feel sadness and regret, fear, uncertainty, etc. It shows that the person has at least begun to accept the reality.
Acceptance Again this stage definitely varies according to the person’s situation, although broadly it is an indication that there is some emotional detachment and objectivity. People dying can enter this stage a long time before the people they leave behind, who must necessarily pass through their own individual stages of dealing with the grief.
(Based on the Grief Cycle model first published in On Death & Dying, Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, 1969. Interpretation by Alan Chapman 2006-2009.)
Bereavement is a nature part of life. In future blogs I will explore the many things we grieve for.