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Understanding Wellness

Ami Shroyer: Coping with Grief and Loss

We are mortal beings passing into this world, and when we lose someone we love, we undergo the process of grieving. According to Elisabeth K?bler-Ross, there are five stages of death and dying for those in grief which include denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Grief is a unique experience and a subjective feeling, so not all people experience all the stages, and some may report experiencing more stages. The first stage of grief is denial, wherein the world becomes overwhelming and meaningless, leaving someone in the state of shock. With the denial stage, one can find a shield from fear and threat, a nature’s way to get your broken pieces back, and as you begin to accept the reality of your loss, you will start to ask questions, which is also the beginning of the healing process. Denial will start to fade once you start to feel the real emotions and thoughts of your loss, but you become stronger in facing reality.

The second stage of the healing process when grieving is anger. You can display your anger by crying or shouting on the top of your lungs to release the pain and tension that were built when you were in the denial stage, but be careful being violent because you may harm yourself and other people. Some people blame other people for the loss of their loved ones such as doctors, family, friends, relatives, and even God. You feel abandoned and deserted. Anger becomes your bridge to the open sea, giving you a structure from the empty denial stage, so you tend to become angry towards a relative who did not attend the funeral or the doctor who attended to your loved one when he was sick. It is commonly observe that people who show too much anger are those who really showed a high level of love to their departed loved one. Then comes the bargaining stage, wherein you promise to do anything just for your loved one to live. A person grieving feels guilt and this stage may last for weeks or months. The guilt inside you leads to self-blame, remembering the past and wondering if things got much better when you have done something better.

After the anger and bargaining, you enter the depressive stage, wherein reality is in front of your face and you cannot do anything but be sad and cry for your loss. Some people don’t get away with this stage and may lead to total depression, needing medical help. A depressed person may entirely withdraw from his social activities, and when realization starts, and so as acceptance, and slowly become engaged in this society again.

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