Grief is a response that people exhibit towards loss (Waldegrave, 2001). It is normally a painful and unhappy emotion. Usually, grief is a reaction that results from something that a person had strongly bonded with. Through suffering, events are generated in such a way that they can be compared to mourning stages that people go through. Human beings go through a series of stages comparable to Kubler-Ross’ grieving process and the stages of grief in response to the loss.
The five stages in the grieving process according to Kubler-Ross are denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance (Kübler-Ross, 2005). Being the first step, denial is a characteristic of the tussle of refusal to accept the encounter. It is hard for a person to accept the situation because he or she was very much attached to the lost things. This is a mechanism through which the victims of loss go in the first days of the loss. Despite the reports that human beings get concerning the loss of their dearly possessed things, they really do not want to accept that they actually have lost them. There is still some hope that there is a way we can deal with tragic events that happen and get back our possession. The denial of these bad occurrences allows a person to cope with the unexpected situations that take place. Denial could make somebody numb. Persistent denial is not healthy but it helps a person to move forward after the occurrence (Kübler-Ross, 2005). Besides, a person can turn out to be different concerning fortunes and be stronger than close associates in handling the situation since his denial was held with a lot of optimism.
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The second stage of the grieving process is anger. After denial fades away, the anger takes over. According to Kubler-Ross’ model, it is typical to put the blame on other people during the anger stage. There is usually a lot of anger and rage for other people and somebody may really want to know why the things happened to them. While the outward reaction encountered by the people around is anger, there is pain that is buried underneath (Kübler-Ross, 2005). It is however important not to try to suppress the anger. Expressing anger openly, it dissipates slowly and gives way to the inner pain. Some people get angry with the position held by others concerning their predicaments.
The third stage is a bargaining stage. This stage can take on different forms. A person may strike a deal in order to get back all that has been lost. Other people may promise anything just to recover from the loss. There are common tales at this stage of “If only…’ and “What if…’ as a solution is being sought to get things back to the manner in which they initially were (Kübler-Ross, 2005). Answering the questions of “If only…’ and “What if…’ is characteristic of an aggrieved person.
The bargaining stage is followed by depression. The depression stage is believed to take months or even years. Its duration cannot really be determined (Kübler-Ross, 2005). People begin to feel a vacuum in their lives as a result of the loss that has been experienced. In some occasions, the victim may start to withdraw from the family and friends and may feel overpowered with the hope of effectively managing grief. People tend to withdraw from the larger family and friends who seem to be around them especially when there is a feeling they are adding onto the sorrow. Apparently, it appears that it is the only way to deal with grief at this point. Depression is very spread occurrence and oftentimes friends and relatives are not supportive of the person’s perception concerning the difficult situation that has befallen.
A point of acceptance comes after the depression. The person gets to realize that the loss is real and is apart of his or her life (Kübler-Ross, 2005). However, this does not mean that the person is accepting the loss encountered. It is a point at which a person accepts a new norm and makes an effort to rediscover happiness. In the acceptance stage, the person starts to rebuild the life based on the fact that even though such important things are no longer there, they will be in the mind and heart forever.
The method of handling grief that I prefer is embodied on true therapy that seeks to empower people to take charge of their lives and accept responsibility in a way that has discipline. This is meant to reduce guilt and set wise procedures of dealing with grief in motion. This research has indeed changed my view of grief in that it has got nothing to do with other people in the long run. It has taught me how to have healthy grief and effectively manage it; grief is something that will certainly come at some point in life.
It is sometimes very difficult to know the action to take when taking care of a grieving person (Waldegrave, 2001). Many people fear to intrude and may be add on to the sorrow that the patient is going through. At times some people may feel incapacitated to act in a manner that will bring some kind of the relief to the patient. It is not easy to take away the pain occasioned by the loss realized. All the same, an individual can be instrumental in offering the much-needed support and comfort to ease the situation. A lot of social researches have established various ways of dealing with a grieving individual but the most important objective of all these methods should be for the person to realize that the person offering to support cares for the aggrieved (Bertman, 2000).
Grief and Bereavement
When a loved one dies, there are dire consequences of very hard experiences. The bereaved people struggle a lot with frightening and intense emotions like anger, guilt and depression. Usually, there is a feeling of isolation and loneliness as they encounter grief. At this moment, the bereaved really need somebody to lean on and assist them in the process of grieving (Stroebe et al., 2010). Therefore, the person offering to be of assistance must exude calmness and confidence to effectively reach out to the aggrieved individual. This is because of the intense support that is required to counteract the grief occasioned by the loss of a loved one. It is normal to feel speechless. It is not a must for a supporter to give advice or offer a solution in form of answers to questions posed by the aggrieved. Being there for the aggrieved person is enough. The caring and support presence will assist the aggrieved to deal with the pain and start a healing process.
The Grieving Process
It is very important to understand the process of grieving before any form of healing can be administered. This guarantees an effective management of the grieving process (Stroebe et al., 2010). One important thing to know is that grief does not show up in a manner that is orderly. Meaning that it cannot be predicted. It is important for the person willing to offer assistance to know that there is no particular way of grieving regarded as either good or bad. The process has unpredictable setbacks, highs and lows. Grieving is experienced differently and there is no particular way of directing a person to deal with the situation. Grieving may disclose extreme behaviors and emotions.
A person who is grieving may feel desperation, anger, fear and guilt. Yelling and loud persistent cries may occur. What is needed at this level is encouragement that it is normal to feel that way. Judging the aggrieved and taking their reactions personally should be avoided at all costs. Again, grieving does not have a given set timetable. Recovery from grief may be up to a period of two years. Different people recover at different times (Davis, 2001). Therefore, it is not wise to pile up pressure to the bereaved because this will definitely affect the process of healing.
Dealing with the Bereaved
The art of dealing with a person who has lost a dear one should be known by any person who is offering to provide care. Many people often feel awkward when dealing with an individual who has just lost a loved one and is grieving (Stroebe et al., 2010). In most cases, many people do not have an idea of what to say. The following is a list of suggestions that can be utilized in such a situation. It is important to show concern in a professional way while making an effort to reach out to the aggrieved.
One of the best approaches to apply is acknowledging the situation. It is very important to engage in a direct conversation about the issue other than going round and round. For instance, “I got news that your _ died.” This shows that the person is very open to discuss the feelings of the person. Research has shown that it is good to express concern by being sorry for whatever thing the aggrieved is going through (Benkel et al., 2009; Vale-Taylor, 2009). At this point, being genuine in the communication process is very important. The person offering care should not hide feelings on the situation. For instance, let the aggrieved know that you may not actually be in a position to understand what they are going through but affirm that they care about them for the loss. It is important to be ready to do what the aggrieved wants or thinks you could be of help by suggesting it. It is efficacious to ask how the aggrieved feels and refrain from making assumptions about the feelings.
Ways of Helping the Bereaved
Many people worry concerning the things they are supposed to say to the bereaved. However, this position could change if people learn to listen to the aggrieved and connect well. Sometimes, very close people to the bereaved fail to talk concerning the death. All the same, this does not make the situation any better as the bereaved needs to feel that people are acknowledging the loss they went through (Stroebe et al., 2010). It is not a lousy thing if talk about the loss and that the loved one will forever remain in their remembrance. All the same, the bereaved should not be forced to open up. Keeping all matters connected to the deceased it is important to show care. It is not good to instill ideas and other subjects different from the bereaved is going through. It is also appropriate to enquire from the bereaved if they feel like talking. Listening with compassion is thus important while trying to help the bereaved in their difficult situations.
Another important way is through the provision of assistance in a practical manner. Many grieving people find it hard to seek help. They could feel guilty when they get a lot of attention, be afraid of turning out to be a burden or be overwhelmed in depression as they reach out for help. It is thus important to make assistance suggestion to them. For instance, an individual may suggest that he or she would like to bring something to the bereaved after visiting a market on a particular day (Waldegrave, 2001). Another appropriate thing to practically do would be offering some items upon the consent of the bereaved. Being consistent has been of great assistance if those offering care and support can manage. Being with the bereaved for lengthy times brings a lot of change. The bereaved in such a scenario will always long for the assistance they have been getting.
Research has shown that the aggrieved cope well when there is continuous support until the period of bereavement is over. Continuous support changes with different people. Generally, grief is a long process that is expected by many people. This should not limit any person ready to offer emotional support (Vale-Taylor, 2009). The most important thing is to never assume the bereaved based on how they appear physically. It is always efficacious to enquire form the bereaved about their situation and deal with it amicably based on findings.
The tendency of identifying warning signs is a very crucial engagement while taking care of the bereaved. Sometimes the bereaved person shows signs of confusion, depression and losing touch form the rest (Holtslander, 2008). In such a case where the signs take time to fade away, then these are signs of serious issues of may be clinical depression. It would thus be prudent to advise seeking professional assistance if such signs are observed. This can be proposed at a point when the bereaved is still aggrieved after a long time following the loss of the loved one.
Studies conducted on bereaved people failing to recover from the loss of a loved one noted signs of excess focus on the loss, drug abuse, inability to enjoy life, contemplating suicide, failure to function well in life, accelerated guilt and anger, hallucinations, hopelessness and keeping away from other people among other disturbing signs (Stroebe et al., 2010). At this stage, experts state that it can be difficult to show concern to the affected individual. Professional clinical intervention can be sought to avoid being invasive. Instead of merely telling the individual the things to do, it is important to state personal feelings towards the situation like being troubled by the idea that the bereaved is not sleeping and such like signs as listed above.
The death of a loved one can be particularly difficult to handle. Not only do the bereaved have to deal with the emotional issue surrounding the loss, tasks associated with making arrangements can complicate the grieving process (Corless, 2001). In the contemporary society, the choices left for the bereaved have been borrowing money, combining extended family monies or asking for church and or community support. All of them have their own stressful emotional dynamics. Besides the financial strain, developmental tasks may impact the resolution of grief. These tasks include: 1) Acceptance and recognition of one’s own death. This is seen as the critical task of the life cycle phase. The bereaved realize them to be the only ones who can take charge and can no longer look to other people especially if the loss was a parent for guidance. They have always been reluctant to seek help. They may be more concerned with personal health, retirement plans, wills, and their own funeral arrangements (Field & Friedrichs, 2004).
Additionally, there are the issues of 2) redefining of family unit roles and tasks in a case where the deceased person plays a significant role in the family. It is important to give advice and suggestions on how well the families can restructure and the importance to live harmoniously after the loss, including maintaining contacts, continuing family traditions, and guiding the younger ones who may deal with the loss in a casual way because of their ignorance (The pediatrician and childhood bereavement, 2000). It is also very important to help in changing self opinion and perception. For instance, when a parent dies, the elder bereaved family members usually become self-reliant, autonomous and responsible toward others. These are seen as indicators of some kind of maturity needed. It is a combination of accepting the new role and stepping up to the plate (Hedtke, 2001). The bereaved can realize this in a gradual process with a careful support and guidance from other people who identify with their situation and are willing to help.
A group of researchers for instance in the recent past have been evaluating factors that point out people at a risk for complex grief (Silverman, 2000). There have been objective researches evaluating the risk factors through a review of the circumstances that surround the loss of a loved one. Unremitting grief and chronic grief is basically linked with unexpected, sudden and traumatic death, loss of young people or children, and the relative connection of the bereaved person to bereaved individual. Specific risk factors include extra dependency in the connection with a mental illness history like depression of the bereaved individual (Waldegrave, 2001). Mental health society highlighted different grief reactions like delayed start to grief as some kind of disorder. In specific people facing grief in ways that are abnormal based on their cultural background were pointed out as having disorders (Coping with Death and Grief in Islam, 2006).
Emerging research and an increasing understanding on the subject of grief has caused psychologists to use various factors for complex grief like changed relations with friends and families, meaningless feelings and beliefs that are ruptured and more important in stirring up health-threatening grief. There are many emerging ways through complicated grief can be identified. The conventional norm of “letting go” grief and loss has been subjected to a lot of question. Researchers believe that there is much communication needed that highlights the importance of well informed procedures of handling loss and grief. Rather than just saying goodbye to loss and grief, the main objective of counseling on grieving matters must be presenting a constructive and lasting link with the person that is deceased (Hockenbury & Hockenbury, 2007). This can be attained by remembering the best of times, putting up an internal talk with the deceased loved one, keep thinking about the individual regularly and trying to imagine the reactions of the person to the prevailing situation.
As the immediate result of the loss, the bereaved try to come to terms with grief-linked symptoms that could profit from coaching in techniques of managing symptoms like relaxation skills and refrain form thinking a lot. It would be very imperative to stay away from too much emphasis on negative emotion. The people engaged in giving support and care to the bereaved must be committed to helping that will produce long-term results. Therefore, they must demonstrate signs of being resourceful by having positive emotion expressions and being able to getting a meaning in the death loss.
Issues of care have been critically examined to highlight the interventions that are presently applied and offer guidance for evaluation and much more empirically guided attention strategies given to the bereaved. There is therefore need to present modern and comprehensive scientific and general knowledge concerning bereavement in a manner that is authoritative while at the same time reachable and important in administering the required support for all bereaved individuals and families.
An emerging understanding of how bio-psychosocial aspect contributes after the death of a loved one has been mainly on the area of counseling on the subject of grief. This is a process that has been engaged in the identification and treatment of individuals who find themselves at a risk of physical and mental complications occasioned by loss of a loved one. Instead of making use of a pre-determined approach that works for all bereaved persons, there is need for psychologists to make use of various evaluation and tailored approaches, based on the situation that the bereaved is going through. It is good not to assume that people respond in a similar way to the same treatments.