Losing a loved one can be one of the hardest things to cope with. The feelings that arise when we experience a difficult loss can be so overwhelming, so scary and sad, that people often think they will never go away.
So it is important to remember, when we feel at our worst, that grieving is a natural process. It is a process not a permanent state of being. It’s not just about coping with loss, it’s also about coping with change and the many difficulties that may come with it. Grief is part of the process of letting go and it takes time. It can be a different experience for everyone and there is no right or wrong way to deal with it. We all go through it at our own pace, working on our own pain in our own way.
The Grieving Process
There are some theories that break up grief into stages or tasks, but you should remember that we don’t all go through them in the same order. We might skip some. Grieving is not a straightforward process. It has ups and downs, and if I have to use a metaphor, I will say grief is less like a staircase and more like a rollercoaster.
Often a sense of shock or denial is the first reaction to the bereavement. This sometimes is quickly replaced by anger. Anger towards the person we have just lost for abandoning us or towards the universe for being so unfair. Sometimes in this order and sometimes not, we may experience the bargaining stage where we might start thinking of all the “what ifs”. That can make us very depressed and when that happens we shouldn’t be afraid of the pain. Allowing ourselves to feel those feelings, accepting them, and working through them, helps us to heal. Acceptance is the last stage but we might come in and out of it for a while until we really get there.
We might go through all the stages or just some of them, we might go forward and then back again and that is all normal. We might even have some really good days along the way filled with hope and laughter and other so very dark ones filled with tears and disappear. This is how the process of grieving works. With time, patience, and compassion we grow around our grief and we find our balance again. Healing may sometimes feel disloyal or as if we are giving up on our loved ones, but it is really not that. The relationship we had, the person we have lost, the memories we had together, will always live within us and be part of who we are. Healing will just help us live with that in peace.
If you need someone to talk to…
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