Grief is painful. Defined, grief denotes a deep sadness or sorrow; a word that is specifically related to the loss of a loved one. If you haven’t yet experienced grief, it is a feeling that a majority of human beings will experience in their lifetime. And, it’s not a fun experience.
As human beings with a finite Earthly existence, we all depart this world. This is one aspect of life that ties us all together… mortality. And, coping with mortality isn’t an easy task. In fact, it’s one that we humans prefer not to even think about most of the time.
The fact is, we all die. This is inescapable. Sometimes this is peaceful, and other times it is tragic. No matter how we leave this world, coping with the loss of a loved one can be one of the most challenging times of our lives.
Whether your loved one passed on from natural causes, due to injuries or sickness, or from wrongful death through no fault of their own, there are several ways to help deal with grief.
Stages of Grief
We can credit Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, a psychiatrist, who coined the “5 Stages of Grief” in 1969. Prior to this date, grief was still a phenomenon in Psychology that was little understood.
The 5 stages of grief come to us from Elisabeth’s research on the feelings of her terminally ill patients. However, over time, people have adapted the 5 stages to other life-altering events such as change, loss, death, and even break-ups. The 5 stages are as follows:
The 5 stages are largely considered as a natural human process for dealing with grief and loss and can be applied to numerous situations where loss is significant or life-changing. In order to better identify your emotions and cope with them, it is important to note which stage of the grief process you’re currently experiencing.
No matter which stage you find yourself in, turning to family for support during your period of bereavement is the best option.
Family members tend to understand and share the loss with you, unlike a co-worker or a casual acquaintance. It is on this level that family members are better able to empathize and offer you assistance, comfort, or just a shoulder to cry on when you feel like you can’t cope with the loss.
Be open and honest with your feelings. Share exactly how you’re feeling, no matter how dark a place you find yourself in. It is only through being open and honest that you’ll be able to relay your feelings and get the sympathy and support your family members can offer.
Many people turn to their faith during hard times, and with the loss of a loved one, your personal faith leaders can offer you guidance and clarity during your difficult time.
Whether or not you believe in God, are part of a church, or if you prefer to have faith in the universe, matters little. Every human being has a set of beliefs that he or she abides by or considers. Some of us are in the exploration part of this journey, and this can also be beneficial when dealing with the loss of a loved one.
If you find yourself looking to explore the spiritual side of life, consider spending more time understanding your faith, or look into alternative philosophies that offer differing explanations and solutions when dealing with grief.
Every religion and spiritual practice has epithets for mortality and underlying philosophies dealing with the nature of mortality and grief. These insights can provide you with both comfort and clarity during difficult times of loss.
Support Groups and Counselors
Sometimes, talking to a complete stranger about your loss can hold the greatest benefit. Thankfully, grief support groups are common in most communities, and today, many support groups can be found online. Depending on the nature of your loss, and the stage of the grief process you’re in, one of these groups could be good for you and help you gain closure on a difficult loss.
Counselors and psychiatrists are also great resources to consider. These individuals are educated on the complex emotions of the human mind and are better equipped to guide you through your difficult time.
No matter the nature of your loss, losing a loved one is a difficult experience for any human being, especially if the bond shared was seemingly unbreakable.
By using the methods listed above, and with a little time and a lot of love, you’ll be able to deal with your loss and eventually move forward and rediscover the beauty of life. Even if it’s in memory only, we can all find a place for our departed loved ones to dwell.