After losing a loved one we go through different stages of emotions. We believe that most people will experience denial, anger, depression and/or acceptance, although not everyone will go through all of them, and not necessarily in that order. We hope that the knowledge of these stages helps us be more equipped to cope with life and loss.
This is the first stage of grief. Often people are overwhelmed to begin with and slip into a state of denial as the world around them becomes very confusing, and as a result, people feel a sense of shock and denial. It’s hard to come to terms with death and often time’s people are left thinking “I can’t believe he/she has gone” and refuse to accept. Although it’s common to question how it’s possible to move on from someone’s death, denial helps to allow us to move through tragedy at our own pace, by letting in as much grief as we can handle. As we slowly come to accept what has happened and what life will be like from there on out, the healing process has already begun, and the denial begins to fade.
Unfortunately, often times as one emotion subsides, another rises in its place, and in this case anger usually follows denial. The emotions that denial had previously kept at bay start to surface, and one of them is anger. Anger is a necessary stage in any healing process. The more we embrace it, the more it will dissipate. Anger has no limits and anyone can be made subject to it, be it your partner, family, friends, yourself, even the loved one who has just died. However underneath the anger is your pain, it is a shield to protect you from feeling that pain, but in time the anger will subside, as will your pain.
DEPRESSION & GUILT
After anger subsides, depression and guilt often set in, and with them comes the sense of loneliness. The grief that we felt in the first stage comes back on a level that we have not previously experienced before. It’s easy to think of all the missed opportunities for making time to see the person you have lost and begin to think of all the things that you could have done and didn’t. “What if I had called in to see them?” “Could I have done something that would have kept them alive?” “It’s my fault I didn’t telephone them.” Far too often people associate depression with mental illness, however after losing a loved one it is an appropriate response to feel depressed. What is important to remember is that although your loved one will never come back, you will get through the struggle that you are in.
Although we will never truly be ‘okay’ with the loss of a loved one, acceptance is more about coming to terms with the fact that the person who has passed will never come back, and the reality that is currently being lived out is a permanent one. Rather than trying to go back to a time where the loved one was alive, it is important to move forward and see that remaining in that time is not conducive to recovery. Although we feel like we cannot enjoy ourselves out of respect to our lost one, it is essential that we listen to our emotions and recognise that not enjoying life and making new connections with people is integral to living, with or without the person that has been lost.
At Joseph C Roberts we are here to help you when you need it most. When helping people through losing loved ones we operate with the upmost respect, dignity and care, and are here to help and support you through the entire funeral process.
If you have any queries about this post or would like to contact us for any other reason, you can call us on: 01423 887824