Grieving is a process

Everyone deals with loss differently, and all ways of grieving should be respected.

by Editorial Board

Whether it be a pet, a family member or a friend, loss is one of the most difficult experiences to go through. Not everyone will experience the loss of an immediate family member at a young age. But, at some point, everyone does experience it, and everyone reacts and copes in a different way.  Loss affects people directly and indirectly, impacting those closest to anyone affected. What is most important in this is that we are there for the person going through this time of loss and that we support them in however they cope.

Whether it be showing it outwardly or keeping grieving private and inward, there is no right or wrong way to cope or grieve. Everyone reacts differently to loss, but that does not make a right or wrong way to process it.  Some people shake it off and pretend like nothing happened to avoid the pain. Others may grieve by comforting others. There are endless amounts of ways to react, each way is unique to the individual and how it works for them. We have to remember we cannot tell someone how they “should” or “should not” act or react. We have to respect everyone’s healing process and make sure to be there when needed, showing them unconditional love.

In some cases, people feel guilt, anger or fear. They may yell at God or others. They may act out and rebel or stop caring. Many even fall into depression after experiencing a loss. This is where we have to love more than ever.  Loss evokes these emotions and love can help level it out and help them feel reassured that everything will be alright.

There is not a time limit on grief. Some push it off for months or years, others deal with it right away and for some, it is a longer, more complex process. Whatever the case may be, we cannot make them feel like they have been grieving for too long or too short. Rather, we need to be there for them every step of the way. Loss can feel like a constant battle of pain that never fully goes away.

There are five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Denial is denying that the loss took place and holding back emotions about it. Anger is the feeling of frustration and aggression. Sometimes people take this out on the ones around them. Bargaining is trying to make deals with God saying, “I’ll do this if you just do this for me.” A typical bargain would be asking God to either bring the one lost back or to be able to have some sort of sign from the one that was lost. Depression causes a loss of interest in activities once enjoyed and can progress into emotional and physical problems. The last is acceptance, where the loss is accepted and the one affected is now at peace with all that happened. However, it is not necessary to go through each of the 5 stages in order to heal. For some, they may only need to go through 2 or 3 stages in order to feel healed, but others may need to go through all 5 until they feel closure or at peace.

Going through a loss leaves a life lasting impact on someone. Make sure you are there to comfort, love, care for and respect the way people experience and cope with that loss because everyone experiences it, and no one should have to go through it alone.