Losing A Loved One

Death has always been a taboo subject for a lot of people and so when we find ourselves losing someone very close to us, we become confused and unsure how to move forward.

For a lot of us, we feel like we are on a deserted island, out in the middle of nowhere having to figure this out for ourselves. We find our normal train of thought emotionally has now disappeared. We are extremely emotional and really don’t know how to navigate all these new feelings at once.

For all of us, we are not aware that grief tends to come in 5 normal stages and we really were not aware that you can experience one at a time or multiple phases at once and that there is no order. You can hop from one to another or back and forth daily depending upon how you are feeling emotionally inside.

The 5 main stages of grief can be summarized as follows:

· Denial: not thinking that this is real. Unable to wrap your mind around the fact that your loved one has passed away. The mind in this stage is trying to figure out how to process the reality of what has just happened. The pain is so bad that the mind is having trouble processing the reality of it all. You find yourself in such shock and disbelief as you may have just talked to them shortly before. Your mind is realizing that all of those dreams you have had are now forever changed to this new reality. You have no idea how you are supposed to live out your life without them here with you.

· Anger: you get angry at the world wondering why they had to be taken from you. Anger seems to be an easy emotion to feel in this time then that of fear and discomfort. This can also leave you alone as people may be uncomfortable with seeing and hearing the anger you are feeling. People and friends that you have always thought would be there for you may start to disappear from your life because they don’t know how to deal with this new version of you.

· Bargaining: During this time, we try to bargain with our higher power to change the result, because we feel so helpless. During bargaining, we tend to focus most of our thoughts on our perceived negative qualities and any regrets we may have surrounding our relationship with the loved one that has passed. We may find ourselves bargaining for a different outcome, for more time, for anything so long as it allows our loved one more time.

· Depression: When the initial shock wears off and you realize that this is your current situation and you can’t change it, you tend to become depressed with the reality that this is your truth. This is not a bad dream, and this is something that has changed the rest of your life. You become extremely sad that you are now realizing that you can not change this, and you are going to have to move on regardless of how hard it is.

· Acceptance: In this phase, we still feel the sadness and loss of our loved one, but we are finally coming to terms with the fact that we can’t change it. The loss we feel is still there, but we are coming to terms with the fact that this is our new life. We are no longer fighting the truth, but we are coming to terms with what that looks like now.

The above are the clinical stages of grief but the truth is that in that time, there are so many more emotions going on as well. You have to forgive yourself as you process through your grief and just allow yourself to feel what you need to. The more you allow and accept your emotions and just work through them on a daily basis, the more ability you are going to have to get to the final phase of acceptance.

It is critical in this time to make yourself a priority and love yourself so that you can find the new you and get back to having a happy, fulfilled life.

If you are interested in further grief coaching, please e-mail mseguin@peacefulconnections.ca.

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