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The Grieving Process

Posted on: August 6th, 2012 by Hope And Cope No Comments

The death of a loved one is one of the most upsetting universal experiences that we have throughout our lifetime. While we will all experience this kind of loss in our lives, people often respond to death in different ways. Most people experience a grieving process during which they feel a range of emotions. It is common to feel sad, guilty, angry, worried, afraid and numb as you come to terms with the death of a loved one. You may feel some or all of these emotions as you grieve the loss of this person. It is also common for these feelings to become less intense as you accept the loss and continue to move on in your life.

Some of the normal experiences of grieving can include:

  • Feeling very sad
  • Feeling very angry
  • Losing weight
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Becoming preoccupied with death
  • Difficulty concentrating

There is no set time frame for these symptoms to last, but at some point you should be able to move forward in life without the physical presence of the person who died.

While going through the grieving process family and friends can be important sources of support. They can be helpful in making memorial arrangements and finalizing your loved one’s affairs. Don’t be afraid to allow them to help you with food, housework, and other chores that need to be completed. Family members and friends can also provide moral support as you struggle with some of the difficult emotions that arise when dealing with your loss. They can spend time with you and encourage you to do things you enjoy. At the same time it is important to recognize that there are limits to the emotional support family and friends can provide.

One of the most popular theories about grieving is the Kübler-Ross model. This model identifies the five stages of grief as denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. For more in depth explanation of these stages please see the following link:

http://psychcentral.com/lib/2006/the-5-stages-of-loss-and-grief/

            While many people identify with this model, and find it helpful to explain some of the normal emotions experienced in grieving, it may not apply to everyone. Many people have different experiences, though this can be a helpful guide.

There are also different factors that impact the grieving process. Your past experience with death and loss can make grieving more difficult or intense. Depending on the closure you did or did not experience in past losses, you may be reminded of those people with a new loss. Unresolved losses can make the grief process more burdensome or painful. Your relationship with the person who is deceased often greatly influences the level of grief you experience. If you lose a spouse or parent, you may take years or months of grieving before you have the chance to explore your complex emotions. The reactions and support of others may also help or hinder your grieving. Men and women react differently to grief. Some people may cry while others do not. Though people may grieve differently, grief is always a painful experience. To successfully navigate the grieving process it is important to express both positive and negative emotions about the deceased person. This will give you a more realistic and fulfilling closure.

If you find yourself struggling for months to return to a normal routine, feel like you are becoming depressed, withdraw from social activities, and lose interest in life a mental health professional may be an appropriate option. It is important to monitor your mental and emotional state as you cope with the loss and a mental health professional may help you process your feelings.

Additional links that may be of interest are as follows:

http://www.webmd.com/balance/tc/grief-and-grieving-what-happens

http://www.helpguide.org/mental/grief_loss.htm

                  http://kidshealth.org/teen/your_mind/emotions/someone_died.html#

Remember, grief and grieving are part of everyone’s experience at some point in their lives. Grieving may not be a high point in your life, but you may strengthen and further appreciate valuable relationships, and gain knowledge about yourself. Many people find they cherish their life and loved ones even more after losing someone close to them. You can, and will, get through the grieving process in your own way, and in your own time.

References

American Psychiatric Association (2000). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (4th ed., text revision ).Washington, D.C, American Psychiatric Association.

Bateman, A. L. (1999). Understanding the process of grieving and loss: a critical social thinking perspective. Journal of the American Psychiatric Nurses Association, 5, 139-147.

Davenport. D.S. (1981). A closer look at the “healthy” grieving process. The Personnel and Guidance Journal, 332-335.

Howarth, R.A. (2011). Concepts and controversies in grief and loss. Journal of Mental Health Counseling, 33, 4-10

Welcome To Hope And Cope!

Hope And Cope is your web portal to easily create a page for the funeral of a fallen loved one or friend.  You can create your own funeral page with an obituary. Easily create your page and share it with all your friends that plan on attending so everyone is on the same page. Donations can be made through your page for the family or to help pay for the funeral home. Let people know what to bring to the funeral as well as directions to the funeral home.  You can add any content you want to your page so go ahead and try it today!