This article is part of the Glenda Law topic. Below are more articles in this topic.
Read more from Glenda here
1. Shock & Denial
2. Pain & Guilt
3. Anger & Bargaining
4. Depression, Reflection & Loneliness
5. Reconstruction & Working Through
6. Acceptance & Hope
These stages are quite widely accepted as a natural progression of the grieving process. Many people will experience these emotions and feelings as they work through the aftermath of a death in their circle whether it is a family member, friend or pet. However not everyone will feel all of those things and some may only feel a few of them. They may not necessarily come in that order either. Much will depend on what the lead up to the loss was. Maybe a sudden death will bring on the initial shock and denial that this has happened however with someone who has nursed an ill partner for any length of time there will not be the same shock experienced as an unexpected death.
I have spoken to many people who have nursed their loved ones for an extended period of time and when they have finally passed the relief has been the initial feeling and a shock was not experienced. Likewise with the denial aspect. Many times the first word uttered by someone receiving news of a death is “No!” They simply don’t want to believe it. The reaction to learning the news is numbed disbelief. Shock to the brain and body upon hearing of a death is giving some protection to being overwhelmed all at once. Numbness or shutting off emotionally is a way of coping. This period can last for a short time or in many cases can go on for weeks. Both are normal.
Each of us experience the stresses and strains life presents with us in a different way. No one way is right and there is no wrong way either. If you think this sounds a bit confusing you are right! Death and the grief and other feelings that go along with it are bewildering to say the least. Also, one minute you can be thinking things are going along just fine and the next second you can be back in the hole again. Experiencing day to day activities can bring on a reminder of the person who has gone and overwhelming feelings from seemingly out of nowhere well up inside and it starts all over again.
Well meaning friends who have been a great support at the beginning can feel useless at times like this and they may well stay away from you after a few weeks. Feeling inadequate in a situation will not make a person want to keep coming back. At certain times it could be helpful to remind your family and friends that it is ok to talk about the loss. Let them know you are open to a conversation and say that you realise closing off is not a good remedy. Releasing feelings and emotional turmoil is a key factor to moving on and experiencing some peace inside. Having a good cry on your own? – Well, there’s nothing wrong with that either. Make sure that you don’t fall into the trap of talking about this ALL of the time to people who call or they will have a reason to stay away!
Expecting the person who has passed to walk through the door at any second is a part of the denial phase. Feeling that the whole thing has been a mistake and that someone will tell you it wasn’t really true can also be something you will experience. Varied episodes of disbelief and denial are all totally normal and it takes a while for some people to fully register that the death of their loved one has actually been a reality. I know many people who pretend the person is still there. If this helps for a while then that’s fine however sooner or later the second stage will set in and you will realize that the death really did occur and your brain and body will start to feel the effects of the pain that goes with realization.
I’ll talk about that stage next time. In the meantime, take care of yourself. Be kind to each other and have a great Queen’s Birthday Weekend.