Ami Shroyer: Coping with Grief and Loss

We all know that human beings are mortal beings, and some come and go. When it comes to death and dying, grief has five stages including denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Remember that not all people in grief experience the five stages, there are some who will report more stages, and others have their own set of grieving stages because it is a unique experience. Denial helps an individual to survive the tragic event of losing someone, and this stage involves a feeling of emptiness, overwhelming, and meaningless feeling. There is actually grace in denial because this is how we compensate for our loss, letting and allowing in only as much as we can deal with. As you become stronger, the denial stage will start to fade.

The second stage of the healing process when grieving is anger. You may feel endless anger because of the pain and you are free to show it by crying or shouting. The anger stage may also involve blaming other people, yourself, and even God for losing your loved one, and this is a normal feeling of a person who is in grief. You feel abandoned and deserted. Anger becomes your bridge to the open sea, giving you a structure from the empty denial stage, so you tend to become angry towards a relative who did not attend the funeral or the doctor who attended to your loved one when he was sick. The anger stage shows how intensity your love is to your loved one. Then comes the bargaining stage, wherein you promise to do anything just for your loved one to live. The bargaining stage involves “what if” statements with so much guilt, lasting for weeks or months. The guilt inside you leads to self-blame, remembering the past and wondering if things got much better when you have done something better.

The most painful part is the depressive stage, wherein you feel the impact of reality that you no longer have the person you were just talking to before, and this is pure sadness and loneliness that may seem to last forever. While there are people who get too depressed, this is not a sign of mental illness, it is a normal response to a great loss. Once depression is over, you enter the acceptance stage and starting to do daily activities and socialize with other people again.

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