What You Need to Know About Grief

One of life’s most challenging aspects is coping with the loss of a loved one. Experiencing loss and having to mourn can bring about not only the worst feelings but some very expected ones. If you’ve ever gone through the experience of loss, then you know just how much relief from the pain is welcomed. The study of grief has come a long way and through that we’ve learned at least one thing: everyone experiences grief and sadness in their own way.

Yes, we as humans may experiences similar patterns of grief but not everyone is going to grieve the same way, each person will process grief in their own light and find different ways to cope and outlets to relieve stress and emotion over the loss.

There’s a lot of research that says there are 5 stages of grief which, in no order are bargaining, depression, denial, anger, and acceptance. But, keep in mind that not every person will experience every stage, there is no set order, and people often bounce back and forth between stages.

Because there are unlimited ways you could have interacted with this person you’ve lost or numerous kinds of relationships, there might be some stages for you that aren’t listed. If you had an especially difficult relationship with the person you lost, you might find yourself feel confusion and even guilt as whole, dedicated stages in your grieving process.

That’s OK and not out of the realm of normal. Please keep in your heart and mind though, that’s its not normal to let grief overwhelm and consume you. That’s not to say you don’t have a few overwhelming days or weeks in the beginning. There of course is not a time limit to grief but grief should be a process that, over time, sees you moving forward. If you’re finding that you’re stuck in the past, moving backwards, or that grief is affecting your day to day function, it’s time to investigate help.

N.D. “Grief”. Psychology Today. (website). 2019
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  • I've always loved this take on grief from author Anne Lamott. "Softness and illumination." Those are beautiful things.

    "Don’t get me wrong: grief sucks; it really does. Unfortunately, though, avoiding it robs us of life, of the now, of a sense of living spirit. Mostly I have tried to avoid it by staying very busy, working too hard, trying to achieve as much as possible. You can often avoid the pain by trying to fix other people; shopping helps in a pinch, as does romantic obsession. Martyrdom can’t be beat. While too much exercise works for many people, it doesn’t for me, but I have found that a stack of magazines can be numbing and even mood altering.

    But the bad news is that whatever you use to keep the pain at bay robs you of the flecks and nuggets of gold that feeling grief will give you. A fixation can keep you nicely defined and give you the illusion that your life has not fallen apart. But since your life may indeed have fallen apart, the illusion won’t hold up forever, and if you are lucky and brave, you will be willing to bear disillusion. You begin to cry and writhe and yell and then to keep on crying; and then, finally, grief ends up giving you the two best things; softness and illumination.”
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