Due to the physical, mental, and emotional uncertainties preparing for death and dying can be terrifying. These uncertainties can cause the mind and body to endure mixed emotions when grieving. There are different stags of grieving and not all people grieve the same way. Understanding the different reactions and stages of grieving, ways to cope and the resources available can make the hardships associated with grieving a little easier. Stages of Grieving Trying to help people during the grieving process involves the understanding that not every person deals with grief the same way.
How long and how difficult the grieving period is can depend on the personal relationship with the person who dies, the circumstances of the death, and the situation of the survivors (Hospice, 2008). The different stages of grieving can include avoidance (denial and shock), confrontation (pain, guilt, anger, and depression), and restoration (acceptance, reconstruction, and hope) (Berk, 2010). Whether a person learns that they are going to die or a death comes sudden it is likely that denial and shock will set in. A person may feel numb while denying the reality of death to avoid the pain and suffering one will feel.
Shock provides emotional protection and can last for weeks. It is when the numbness begins to wear off that people experience the pain and guilt of losing a loved one. Confronting death and the pain of losing a loved one can seem unbearable. Survivors may feel hopeless, asking themselves if they had done enough or should have done more. This can lead to anger and bargaining. It is important to understand that being angry after a death is normal. Anger can be directed towards the deceased for leaving a survivor feeling alone and hopeless, or at the doctors when a survivor feels the doctor could have done more.
Some people may feel angry with God for allowing so much pain or with themselves for not having the ability to save the dying. When a person learns that a loved one is dying he may bargain in vain with God, making promises to change or stop doing something if God will allow the dying to stay on earth and live (Hospice, 2008). Depression and loneliness are common stages of grieving that most people will experience. Coming to terms with the reality that a loved one is about to or has passed can depress a person. A feeling of emptiness approaches and sometimes people will isolate themselves from others.
The feeling of being alone and afraid can cause a person to withdraw from the people and activities he is used to. Restoration and accepting death can be a difficult task. Accepting death does not consist of forgetting, but rather dealing with the reality of the situation and moving forward. Over time the sadness of losing a loved one will start to lesson and survivors learn to move on. Although the pain and memories will never go away, survivors will learn to cope and create new ways of moving forward and reconstructing their lives without the deceased.
Survivors will create hope for their future, finding new strength, independence, and emotional resources they didn’t know they had. Ways to Cope Coping with death is a difficult task and can be overwhelming. Dealing with the death of a loved one causes emotional hardship while adjusting to life without the deceased. A person must practice ways to cope with the death of a loved one to restore his or her emotional equilibrium. Crying is a common and effective way to cope with death (Dyer, 2002). This is an exceptional practice when a person has lost someone deeply cared for.
Remembering the good and bad times shared is important and can be comforting. Crying can be expressed through both tears of joy and sorrow. Expressing feelings is another effective way to cope with death. Talking to others personally or through professional therapy can help with the healing process. A person should seek professional help if the feelings of grief and hopelessness last longer than four to six weeks. As the healing process can last several weeks, it is important that a person take time to heal.
Taking time to reflect on what is important while focusing on the memories that bring special meaning to life will nurture this process. Focusing on health is an important factor when coping with death. Loosing focus on oneself can be easy when the mind is fixated on someone else. A person must remember that even though the deceased person is no longer with them, there are still other people such as additional family and children that need to be taken care of and the grieving person must remain strong by taking care of them self. Take an active stand to attend or help organize memorial services because this helps with the healing process.
Helping with final arrangements can help the grieving person finalize that his or her loved one is gone and not coming back. People who are grieving should avoid making big decisions on impulse that could be life changing. When decisions need to be made people who are grieving need to make sure the decisions are given adequate thought to avoid major life changes that end in regret. Coping with death is challenging as a person endures the grieving process. It is important that a grieving person knows that there are resources available to help them get through the hardships of death.