Coping With Death And The Grieving Process
It’s something we all have to face and cope with eventually and until you do life is carefree, you barely give death and the grieving process a second thought. Until it comes knocking on your door, delivering the news nobody ever wants to hear, that a loved one has passed away, then you can scarcely think of anything else.
That day came for us late Saturday evening in the form of a phone call letting Kevin know his Dad had passed away. It’s such as shock as most that knew his Dad expected him to live well into his nineties, another decade away.
Coping with death and the grieving process is as unique as death itself and although there are 5 stages, they don’t necessarily flow in order in a nice neat package as I expected when my Dad died. I was at University at the time and a month after the funeral I swung by my psychology lecturers office to ask if he could recommend a colleague I could talk to.
I carefully explained that my Dad had died a month prior and I still wasn’t feeling “right” and that I thought there was something wrong with me! Sheesh could I give myself a break! What was really going on was anger, I was pretty pissed off with everybody, especially those that were sick and still living. Irrational thoughts are all part of the process.
Anger is a big part of the death and the grieving process too, I faced it from my Mother when I didn’t return from a trip when she expected, just two years ago. My Brother was sick and diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, but he and I had made a pact, I had to go on my trip and he would still be around when I returned 2 weeks later. And he was if only for another week.
Denial is generally the first stage of grief, it’s nature’s way of buffering us from the pain, helping us to survive the loss. It was in this stage that I felt numb, the world slowed down, I wanted to scream as everybody went about their lives, business as usual, didn’t they know my Father was gone?
Bargaining can weave its way into your days, usually coupled with guilt, the “what if’s” and the “if only’s” start most of you thoughts. What if I… or if only I had… are common questions that may plague you. These are all part of the natural process of grief, each stage can visit several times per day, flipping from one to another.
Depression can be your constant companion when it really hits home that your loved one isn’t coming back, it’s the little things like calling them, then you remember that they are no longer there. Feeling sad is part of grief and it’s perfectly normal, you can’t “snap out of it” you have to let nature take its course.
Even though I didn’t believe it, there will be a time when you move into the acceptance stage, no you’ll never forget them and it’s perfectly OK to get on with life and enjoy all that it brings, no need to feel guilty about that and your loved one wouldn’t expect you to either.
If you are facing the grieving process do lean on your friends and family and say yes to any help offered. This is the time to nurture yourself, be gentle, there are no set time limits for the 5 stages of grief, give yourself all the time you need, your loved ones will understand and remember there is no shame in reaching out for professional help either.