Ami Shroyer: How to Cope with Grief and Loss
We all know that human beings are mortal beings, and some come and go. According to Elisabeth K?bler-Ross, there are five stages of death and dying for those in grief which include denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Grief is a unique experience and a subjective feeling, so not all people experience all the stages, and some may report experiencing more stages. The first stage of grief is denial, wherein the world becomes overwhelming and meaningless, leaving someone in the state of shock. There is actually grace in denial because this is how we compensate for our loss, letting and allowing in only as much as we can deal with. Denial will start to fade once you start to feel the real emotions and thoughts of your loss, but you become stronger in facing reality.
The second stage of the healing process when grieving is anger. Anger results to crying, shouting, and physically harming yourself and others, and this is a normal stage of the healing process, but you must be careful hurting yourself and other people with your seemingly limitless anger. You have a lot of questions when it comes to death and dying in the anger stage, and you may also blame people who might have neglected your loved one that resulted to his death, including God. With the pain caused by a loved one’s loss, we may feel deserted and abandoned. Anger can give you a temporary structure to the denial stage’s nothingness, giving you an anchor, and a bridge to the open sea, and this is evidenced when you start blaming and getting angry to other people. The intensity of anger also reflects the intensity of love to the departed loved one. Then comes the bargaining stage, wherein you promise to do anything just for your loved one to live. The bargaining stage involves “what if” statements with so much guilt, lasting for weeks or months. It is normal to feel guilty, remembering the past and thinking you should have shown more love and care to your loved one.
The most painful part is the depressive stage, wherein you feel the impact of reality that you no longer have the person you were just talking to before, and this is pure sadness and loneliness that may seem to last forever. While there are people who get too depressed, this is not a sign of mental illness, it is a normal response to a great loss. A depressed person may entirely withdraw from his social activities, and when realization starts, and so as acceptance, and slowly become engaged in this society again.