The death of a loved one can be devastating, and sometimes going on just doesn’t seem like an option. Yet, while there’s very little one can do or say to help someone’s grief, there are some things that will help you get closure.
When I lost my mum at the age of 21, I was devastated. I didn’t know if I should cry for her or for myself. I didn’t know if I wanted to go to the funeral or not. Somehow, the funeral felt like too much of a goodbye, and I didn’t even know how to tell others about how I was feeling.
14 years later, and the hole she left in my life hasn’t been filled, but I’ve learnt to live with it, laugh without thinking about it, and going through everyday tasks as easily as I had done before.
There are many lessons that I’ve learnt from my mum’s death, of course. I learnt how to sew, because she couldn’t do it for me any longer. I learnt to fend for myself. I also learnt that death, as horrible and as hard as it may be, must be faced head on.
How to deal with Denial: Almost everyone gets to experience grief at some point in their lives, and the shock is so great that our bodies and minds cannot handle it, hence why we go into a state of shock, numbness and denial. At this point, it’s important you deal with the loss and address any feelings you may be experiencing. Nothing is stupid and, no matter who you have to take care of, make sure you’re getting the help and alone time you need.
How to deal with Bargaining: The second step of the grieving process is the Bargaining stage, and people can spend years wondering what they could have done differently. While this helps us rationalise things, it also instils a deep sense of remorse and guilt within us, so talking to someone – preferably a professional – can help you make sense of what’s happened and come to terms with it.
How to deal with Depression: At this point, an intense sense of sadness will engulf you. All the things that once gave you happiness will appear dull and bland, and the world will turn into a joyless place. It’s fine to be like this for a few days, but it’s also important to snap out of it. Make sure you don’t close yourself off from others, and do be sociable, even if that means having one relative or friend over for coffee or to stay with you for a while. People will want to help, and it helps to let them in.
How to deal with Anger: Obviously, don’t give into the physical part of it, but always remember that it’s okay to be angry. Someone you loved was taken away from you and there is nothing you can do to change that. Curse the heavens and slam your fist, but be careful what you say to others. Anger can turn us into monsters, and it’s at this time that allowing yourself to cry can truly offer solace. Crying, after all, is the body’s way of cleaning itself from toxins and negative emotions.
How to deal with Acceptance: Some people feel guilty when they accept that their loved one is no longer in their life. In fact, some people never get to this stage. Remember that the end of someone’s life, while difficult and traumatic, should not spell the end of yours. Think about what that person would have wished for you. Smile when you think of them and remember that life is short and shouldn’t be wasted.
At the end of the day, loss is never easy to deal with, but it’s also important to think of what else you have. Think of your family members, your friends, your job and all that you’ve worked so hard for and have been blessed with, and adapt to life with those in it. And remember, as cliché as this may sound, life is only worth living because it has an expiration date. If not, what would the point be?
Can you think of other ways to help someone deal with the five stages of grief?
Let us know in the comment section below.