COPING WITH GRIEF AND LOSS
Losing a loved one can be difficult, especially when the person is young or very close to you. The death of a child, friend or spouse brings up thoughts and emotions that are hard to understand and deal with.
After the death of a loved one, grief and sadness can be overwhelming. It often seems like nothing will ever be normal again. Things will get easier. With the help and support of friends, family, and the correct coping mechanisms, the wound will heal, though a scar will always remain.
In this article, we will discuss methods on both helping others, and yourself, with the grief reaction of a loved one’s death.
WHAT ARE THE STAGES OF GRIEF?
We need to understand the process of grieving because it helps us know how to support the grieving loved ones around us, or even help ourselves through the stages. The 5 stages of grief are as follow:
- First, Denial: the person denies that the loss is real. It is seen as a dream, or a bad joke. Denial can last for days to even years. Denial will eventually give way to anger.
- Second, Anger: the person feels angry at those around them for their loved one’s death. They may even blame themselves for the loss. If this anger is targetted towards you, please try to be as understanding as possible, as clarity of thought is not always coherent during grief.
- Third, Bargaining: The person asks for “divine intervention” to bring back the dead loved one. They feel hopeless and would do anything to change the sands of time.
- Fourth, Depression: The person becomes withdrawn from others and will find it hard to function as they once did. Seeking help in the fourth stage is advised.
- Fifth, Acceptance: this is the last stage of grief and the only time throughout their grieving journey that the person feels peace once again.
Read more on The Five Stages of Grief
How Long Do The Stages Of Grief Last?
The length of time it takes for someone to pass through the stages of grief changes from person to person, there is no normal length of time, but understanding at which point you or a loved one is at currently will help the process through self-reflection and healing.
Seeking Help With Depression
A person in the fourth stage cannot hear their loved ones and feels as if they are in a dream world. This is when the person feels as if life before their loved one’s death was better than life now. The person may have had different emotions when their loved one was alive. Now, he or she feels nothing. They may feel as if their loved one is still alive in a way. This can be difficult for the person to understand and deal with.
Seeking Help With Depression
A person in the fourth stage cannot hear their loved ones and feels as if they are in a dream world. This is when the person feels as if life before their loved one’s death was better than life now.
The person may have had different emotions when their loved one was alive. Now, he or she feels nothing. They may feel as if their loved one is still alive in a way. This can be difficult for the person to understand and deal with.
Symptoms Of Depression
Depression, a mental illness that impacts millions of people worldwide, can manifest in many ways and people may present with different symptoms. Common symptoms to watch out for are:
- Hopeless outlook – The feeling of ‘what’s the point anymore.
- Lost interest – Not interested in former hobbies and interests.
- Fatigue – Always tired, or simply not wanting to get out of bed in the morning.
- Anxiety – Feeling of always being nervous or on edge.
- Irritability – Having a short fuse and getting angry over small things.
- Appetite changes – Eating or drinking more (or less) than usual.
- Lack of emotions – This could be not caring for yourself, anything or even a sudden lack of empathy for others.
- Suicidal thoughts – Please reach out and seek help. People do care. Even if it is just to talk. Samaritans are always there to listen (Free Phone 116 123).
We need to be aware that if a person is depressed during the grief process, they may not be able to function at work, or at home. Suicide can be a symptom of depression, as well as substance or alcohol abuse. If you or a loved one is going through a prolonged period of depression or complicated grief, please reach out to a specialist or grief counsellor as soon as possible.
HOW TO HELP SOMEONE WHO HAS LOST A LOVED ONE?
After the loss of a loved one, dealing with emotions from the initial stage of denial is going to get substantially harder, before it gets easier. It’s important to remember that the grieving process is a long one, and it will take time and support before they’re ready to accept the loss.
Offer Help, Reach Out
There are many ways that you can help someone who has lost a loved one. One way is by simply being there for them. Being there can mean anything from making regular visits, taking on some chores to cooking, and taking them out of the house.
When someone loses a loved one, it can be very difficult to find comfort or even care for yourself. It is important not to tell grieving people to reach out, offer help. An altruistic pragmatic approach is required. Even if they initially decline your support or sympathy, make yourself always available throughout the healing process.
Grief Goes On Long After The Funeral
Little acts of kindness are needed long after the funeral is over. There’s no right or wrong way to help someone who has lost a loved one. Losing a loved one is like losing a part of yourself. The pain of grief is an ally for love and wisdom. The more you can make the person feel loved and supported, the sooner they will be able to move forward.
HOW DO PEOPLE COPE WITH THE LOSS OF THEIR LOVED ONES
People cope with the loss of their loved ones in different ways. Some people take a break from life for a while, while others keep on living but are constantly reminded of what they have lost. Some people try to keep their loved ones close by doing daily rituals and honouring them in a way that they are still alive. Other people might try to find someone else who has lost the same person to share their feelings with. The coping methods people use depend on the individual and how they feel about what has happened to them.
Seek Out Face-To-Face Support From People Who Care About You
If you have lost a loved one, it’s important to be around people who care about you. Reach out and talk with them when you’re feeling sad or lost. It is also important to go outside of your comfort zone. You can find support from social media and other online communities, but it’s also good to talk with friends and family, especially face-to-face.
Recognise The Difference Between Grief And Depression
Recognise the difference between grief and depression. Grief is a natural process that can be difficult to deal with. If you are depressed or in a constant low mood, make sure you reach out and let a professional (a doctor, grief counsellor or therapist) know, as depression can have long-lasting effects for the griever if left untreated.
7 ways to remember someone who has passed away?
It is difficult to know what is the best way to remember someone who has passed away. There is no right or wrong way, as we are all different and cope in different ways. Here are 7 popular coping methods people have had success with, after losing a loved one.
Write a letter to them
One good idea would be to write a letter with their favourite memories and leave it in their room or in a special place. This will help with getting your emotions out and make it easier to express yourself and say what was left unsaid. Writing a letter can be therapeutic. It’s a way of telling someone about how much you miss them, and what they mean to you.
Sayings and quotes
Quotes are another way that you can remember and honour your loved one. They can be printed and displayed around the house or in a journal.
Find a physical object to represent them
A picture will only represent what they were like when they were alive, but a physical object can be used to represent them even after their death. It acts as a reminder that they will always be with you and part of you.
Praying is a great way to remember someone. While some people don’t believe in this, it’s still a good and healthy way to deal with the grief and loss that comes along with losing a loved one.
Plant a remembrance tree
A remembrance tree is a great way to share and honour the loss of a loved one. It provides both a tangible place where you can visit to pay your respects and a digital location online, for when you wish to view pictures and read the words of others who are feeling the same way. Click here to find out more about planting a memory tree.
Reading a good book is another way to remember, and honour the person you have lost. It’s also an excellent way to overcome the grief that comes along with losing someone.
Music can help you to cope with the loss of a loved one. Listening to music can help you cope with the loss of a loved one, as the song lyrics can be very relatable to how you feel or provide a special memory you had with the departed.
Painting, drawing, and sculpting is another great way to remember someone; whether you are an artist or not. You can use any art medium to remember your loved one and express how you feel. Art is the metaphysical embodiment of your emotions, making your feelings tangible can help face and understand the way you feel.
Loss can be a difficult process that takes time to heal. It is important to remember that loss is not something you should fight against, but rather something you should learn and grow from.
The loss of a loved one can be difficult to understand and experience, and should never be done alone. It is recommended that you take time to process your feelings about the loss, so remember to give yourself some time to go through the stages. It is also helpful to talk to a close friend, family member, or even a professional, as they are there to help you through the grieving process.