Elisabeth Kübler-Ross in her book On Death and Dying, mentioned that there are five stages of grief.
1. Denial and isolation; 2. Anger; 3. Bargaining; 4. Depression; 5. Acceptance
People who are grieving do not necessarily go through the stages in the same order, they may not even go through all the processes at all. But the stages of grief and loss are universal and no human is left untouched by them.
Sometimes, we may find ourselves oscillating between stages, while at times we may be stuck at one stage for long. There is no timeline to grief and some people may grieve for life. Only a few are afforded the luxury of reaching acceptance; a stage where you can finally see clearly and are trying to make peace with your loss. This stage is marked by withdrawal and calm.
It is important to remember that grieving is a deeply personal process, and no external force can speed it up or lighten it up for you. People grieve in different ways and there is no one way to mourn. But there are always steps you can take to bring you comfort in times of need. Resisting the pain will only prolong the healing.
Here are a few steps, which can be tried to ease the bereavement process:
- Express your feelings: Talk about your feelings with family and friends. Talking about our grief is a cathartic process and helps you heal. It also empowers people in similar situations to open up about their emotional distress. There are also a lot of support groups available for people who are dealing with the loss of a loved one. Sharing your feelings will stop you from feeling choked.
- Take care of your health: It is easy and tempting to get lost in grief and completely lose the sense of self. Some people lose their appetite, while the rest turn to addiction. There are many who develop physical ailments. Ignoring one’s physical health will not make things easier but will complicate things later on. Make sure you eat well and get rest.
- Postpone major life changes: Give yourself time to adjust to your loss before making any major life changes. Moving, remarrying, changing jobs or having another child are all major decisions and should only be taken when one is emotionally stronger.
- Be patient: There is no time limit to grieving and you cannot push yourself to feel better. Healing is a process and it will take its own time. Somedays you may feel like your old self again, while on another day you may feel consumed by your pain. Be kind to yourself and have patience. Sometimes, it takes months to absorb the loss and accept the changes.
- Seek help: It is a mark of strength and not weakness to ask for help. If you feel the grief is too much to bear and it is affecting every area of your life, seek professional help. You can opt for grief counseling where they let you talk about your feelings and help you with tools to manage your emotions. They will help you in navigating through your grief while simultaneously helping you get better mentally.
With support, love and strength, you will survive grief. It may seem impossible now, but someday you will be able to look back at the memories with fondness and a smile.
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