Written by Teo Miranda-Moreno
Grief can be a painful time when dealing with the loss of a loved one. To understand grief, you must comprehend that the grieving process is dealt with differently by everyone. Allowing room to experience grief after a loss can help immensely with the healing process. Feeling sad, frightened, or lonely is a perfectly normal reaction to loss, so putting up a “brave front” in front of your friends and family is not necessary. Showing your true feelings can help them and you. These suggestions can be followed but are not a direct guideline to how you should deal with your own grief.
Possible Causes of Grief:
Divorce or relationship breakup
Loss of health
Losing a job
Loss of financial stability
Death of a pet
Loss of a cherished dream
A loved one’s serious illness
Loss of a friendship
Loss of safety after a trauma
Selling the family home
The Five Stages of Grief
Denial is where we minimize our loss by spending most of our time grieving. Our whole reality has just changed, and so, denial helps us to not feel overwhelmed by our emotions.
Anger is our attempt to adjust to our new reality. It occurs as we release our emotions causing us to appear as unapproachable.
Bargaining is caused by us coping with the loss. Bargaining comes from feeling helplessness and it is common to wish you could change things in the past such as behaving different or having acted differently.
Depression is caused when our imagination slows down and we take the time to face the harsh cruelty of our current situation. Bargaining no longer feels like an option and we start to feel a greater loss for our loved one. We tend to pull inward as our sadness grows, and we feel ourselves retreating from others trying to help.
Acceptance is when we no longer feel the pain of the loss, and we no longer resist the reality of our current situation. We still feel sadness and regret yet the tactics of the previous emotional stages are less likely to present themselves.
How to Help Someone Who is Grieving
We may try to use humor or jokes to lift and “fix” someone from their grieving. While the intention is usually good, it can leave the people feeling that their pain is ignored, not seen, nor valid. Don’t force victims of loss to quicken their grieving process in an attempt to help. Nudging them to process their emotions can actually be an obstacle to healing. Offer space for people to grieve while simultaneously leaving yourself accessible incase they want to reach out for help.
How to Deal with the Grieving Process:
Acknowledging the pain, and accepting the grief that can trigger a variety of emotions is crucial to being able to move one from it. You should also get informed and understand the grieving process, and support yourself emotionally throughout the process.
You can access the American Counseling Association site here for more resources: