Losing a loved one is never easy, and coming to terms with your loss can be a long and harrowing process.
The early stages of this can be the most difficult, especially when there are so many preparations that need to be made and affairs that need to be put in order. However, there will always be people who are able to assist with these issues, so you can focus on the healing process. To help you understand the emotional turmoil of losing a loved one, we look at the five common signs of grief, as introduced by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross in her book ‘On Death and Dying’ in 1969.
The first stage of grief is denial. This is the stage where the world seems overwhelming and meaningless and many people start to feel lost and numb. This is when your loss is still fresh and you feel raw. You’ll also be funnelling a lot of your energy into just surviving and making it through each day.
However, this initial shock and denial actually helps us to cope and start healing. Slowly, you will start to accept the loss and ask questions, which will ultimately help you start the healing process.
Anger is an important part of the healing process; so don’t try to block it out. Be willing to feel the anger, even if it feels like it will never fizzle out. As the anger reaches its peak, it will start to dissipate on its own, and you’ll slowly start to heal. Underneath the anger is your raw pain; with the feelings of anger and resentment you’re feeling playing the role of an anchor. To begin with, when you lose someone you feel lost, but as you start to feel angry, your feet find solid ground again and you start to realise that the anger you’re feeling is just another sign of the intensity of your love for the person you have lost.
The bargaining stage of grief is the stage when you start asking ‘what if?’ or thinking ‘If only’… We start to feel an urgency and desperation to return our lives to what it was before, finding ourselves stuck in the past and desperately trying to find a way out of the grief and the pain. This can be happening throughout any of the stages of grief, as they’re not necessarily linear and can all be happening at the same time or in a seemingly disorganised fashion.
As you start to move past the ‘What if?’ stage, your attention and feelings will start to move into the present. For many, this is the worst stage of grief as the feeling of emptiness starts to really set in, with the reality of the loss looming above you. A lot of people will start to withdraw from life and you might find yourself wondering what the point in life is. This is the stark reality of depression and these empty feelings can stick around longer than many of the previous stages of grief.
You’ll probably never feel okay or right about the loss of someone you loved. However, acceptance is about coming to terms with the fact that your new reality is permanent and that there’s no going back to the way things were before your loved one passed away. As you start to accept your situation, you’ll be able to start looking forward again. There are times when you might feel guilty about finding happiness elsewhere or with someone else, but it’s perfectly natural. Eventually, you will move through your grief and start living again.
However, in the early days of your grief, make sure you lean on your friends and family for support. You can also entrust important arrangements like selecting a suitable monument and mausoleum panel with companies who handle these sorts of arrangements on a daily basis.