The pain of losing someone can be one of the most difficult experiences we will encounter. Some say grief is easier to bear if the person has lived to a ripe old age and died peacefully in their sleep, this may bring you some comfort but it doesn’t mean you won’t really feel the loss of that person.Everyone at some point will experience grief and each person’s experience of grief will differ. How the person died and your relationship to that person affects how you will experience your loss. There may be a strong sense of unfairness if the person died before their time, or after a long and painful illness, or in tragic circumstances. Perhaps you feel guilty because you didn’t visit as often as you would have liked, you regret not saying your goodbyes, perhaps you didn’t have a good relationship with the deceased, maybe there has been a family fallout or breakdown as a result.[image url=”https://www.butterflycounselling.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/Counselling-300×113.jpg” raw=”true” alignment=”center” margin_left=”0″ margin_right=”0″ margin_top=”0″ margin_bottom=”0″ width=”300″ height=”113″]
Grieving is not all about the loss of someone, it is also about how you look after yourself during this difficult time. Each stage of the grieving process is about showing yourself care and compassion, as you would like someone else to show to you. Research over the years has identified at least five stages of grieving.
Denial or numbness
This is where you appear not to be affected at all, this can last days, weeks or even years in some cases. It’s the mind and body’s way of protecting you from becoming too overwhelmed with painful emotions.
Most people who have experienced a loss will get angry even if it doesn’t make sense. You may feel more irritable, angry towards another person, maybe towards the person who has died about something not related to the death itself. This can help to avoid being overwhelmed by feelings of helplessness and powerlessness.
This is where you become preoccupied with thoughts such as, what could I or should I have done differently, what could have been, if only. The preoccupation of thoughts can help to keep powerful feelings away, and may also help to draw some learning from the situation.
At some stage you may experience some symptoms of depression, feeling low, tearful, and lacking in energy just to name a few. This is where your body and mind is getting you to slow down in order to process the difficult emotions and to help you to adjust to your new reality.
At some point you will be able to integrate what has happened into your life story. People sometimes describe it as learning to live with the loss, where you still continue to miss the person but at the same time feel more able to cope in the world.