For the Family
Coping with Death and Grief
The Grieving Process
Impact of Loss: The Grieving Process
When a loved one is dying or dies, there is a grieving process. Recovery is a slow and emotionally painful one. The grieving process can be less painful if you try to understand that loss and grief is a natural part of life. Try to believe in yourself. Believe that you can cope with tragic happenings. Let your experience be a personal growth process that will help you to deal with future stressful events.
The grieving process usually consists of the following stages. Note that not everyone goes through all these stages.
Denial and Shock
At first, it may be difficult for you to accept death of a loved. As a result you will deny the reality of death. However, this denial will gradually diminish as you begin to express and share your feelings about death and dying with other family member friends.
During this stage the most common question asked is "why me? ". You are angry at what you perceive to be the unfairness of death and you may project and displace your anger unto others. When given some social support and respect, you will eventually become less angry and able to move into the next stage of grieving.
Many grieving individuals try to bargain with God. They probably try to bargain and offer to give up an enjoyable part of their lives in exchange for the return of health or the lost person.
You may find yourself feeling guilty for things you did or didn't do prior to the loss. Accept your humanness. You accepted the humanness of the person who died. They would want you to do the same for you. Sometimes there can be indignities that your loved one went through. When you have a harsh flashback consider the huge challenge they faced and the courage they displayed.
You have experienced a great loss. Mood fluctuations and feelings of isolation and withdrawal may follow. It takes time to become socially involved in what's going on around you.
Please note that encouragement and reassurance to the bereaved may or may not be helpful in this stage.
As you go through changes in your social life because of the loss, you may feel lonely and afraid. The more you are able to reach out to others and make new friends, the more this feeling lessens.
Acceptance does not mean happiness. Instead you accept and deal with the reality of the situation.
Eventually you will reach a point where remembering will be less painful and you can begin to look ahead to the future with hope, as your loved one would want you to.
Ways to Cope with Death and Dying
- Discuss feelings such as loneliness, anger, and sadness openly and honestly with family and friends.
- Maintain hope.
- If your religious convictions are important to you, talk to a member of the clergy about your beliefs and feelings.
- Join a support group.
- Take good care of yourself. Eat well-balanced meals. Get moderate exercise and plenty of rest.
- Be patient with yourself. It takes time to heal. Some days will be better than others.
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Have a family member or friend experiencing grief and you want to help?