Grief — that feeling of intense sorrow can be a stressful time in a person’s life.
It transcends the loss of a loved one due to death as it can range from news of a devastating illness, loss of property after a natural disaster, realisation of betrayal, divorce, death anniversaries, or of hearing of a favourite celebrity’s untimely death and other general disappointments.
There are five classic stages of grief a person may go through one at a time or another and not necessarily in the order that they appear in the list, but for most multiple stages can occur at the same time. The stages are:
There is no cookie cutter way for a person to deal with grief, as each person is different. The grieving process may feel like your emotions are tossing you around like the waves of the ocean. This unfortunately is very normal and simply a part of the grieving process. The final truth about grief is that the initial sting of the loss may wear off but a person never gets over it. A person instead can learn to live within their ‘new normal’ when he or she gets to a place of acceptance. Triggers however can make a person feel like they are revisiting the stages of grief all over again. Triggers are reminders that can be as subtle as a fragrance, dreams, or doing new things and suddenly realising what once was is no longer a tangible reality. However there are times when a person may need some additional support to walk them through their grieving process especially when the grief becomes debilitating. Healthguide.org calls this complicated grief.
Symptoms of complicated grief include:
- Extreme anger or bitterness over the loss
- Searching for the person in familiar places
- Feeling that life is empty or meaningless
- Unable to perform normal daily activities
- Denial or prolonged sense of disbelief
- Avoiding things that remind you of your loved one
- Blame yourself for the loss or for failing to prevent it
If you or someone you know is exhibiting any of signs of complicated grief it may be time to get some help. Counselling is typically available through pastoral or church ministries in all communities or from professional counselling services.
by Roslyn A. Douglas, MA
Founder of Central Health – Grenada