The Grieving Process - Understanding Death and Grieving

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by EmmaLouP
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The Grieving Process - Understanding Death and Grieving


The Grieving Process

Understanding Death and Grieving

The masking effect of denial begins to wear and the reality sets in; this can cause us to feel angry. A person may feel powerless over the loss and lash out at what may or may not have caused the loss. The person in question can be angry with himself, or with others, or at a higher power. Anger even may be directed at our dying or deceased loved one. We feel guilty for being angry, and this makes us angrier.

As the reality of a loss is difficult to face, the first reaction is denial. The person denies the actuality of the situation – it is hard for them to believe that the loss has actually occurred. Denial is a natural reaction to explain overwhelming emotions and is a defense mechanism that shields the immediate shock. Full awareness of a major loss can happen suddenly or over a few days or weeks. While an expected loss (death after a long illness) can take a short time to absorb, a sudden or tragic loss can take more time.

Acceptance is when a person has come to terms with the reality of a situation, recognizing a process or condition without attempting to change it. Reaching this stage of mourning is not grasped by everyone. Death may be sudden and unexpected or we may never see beyond our anger or denial. Acceptance is often confused with the notion of being “all right” or “OK” with what has happened. This is not the case. Most people don’t ever feel OK or all right about the loss of a loved one. This stage is about accepting the reality that our loved one is physically gone and recognizing that this new reality is the permanent reality.

Depression may occur from a prolonged sense of loss and sadness. The grieving person begins to understand the certainty of death. Things can begin to lose meaning to the griever, because of this, they may become silent, refuse visitors and spend much of the time crying. It is natural to feel sadness, regret, fear, and uncertainty when going through this stage. Feeling these emotions shows that the person has begun to accept the situation. Oftentimes, this is the ideal path to take, to find closure and make their ways to the fifth stage, Acceptance. It is important that individuals experiencing depression get help from a medical professional.

Stage 1: Denial

As people cope with the death or loss of a loved one they go through a process referred to as the grieving process. The grieving process consists of five stages that copes with death in healthy ways. Not everyone goes through all these stages and they do not necessarily occur in any specific order. One can switch back and forth between stages.

Stage 2: Anger

Stage 3: Bargaining

Stage 4: Depression

The third stage involves the hope that the person can somehow undo or avoid a cause of grief. Usually, the grieving person may try to bargain with life or with a higher power to replace the loss or reverse the course of history. In essence, the individual cannot totally move into acceptance, yet acknowledges the fact that what has happened cannot be undone. The normal reaction to feelings of helplessness and vulnerability is often a need to regain control. The bargaining stage is the “What If” stage.

Stage 5: Acceptance

“It is difficult to accept death in this society because it is unfamiliar. In spite of the fact that it happens all the time, we never see it.” -Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, creator of the 5 stages of grief.



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