Grief-An untold tale!!!
“Death ends a life, not a relationship” -Mitch Albom
From time to time we have listened to people tell us in times of grief, that though our loved ones are physically gone they are here with us in their soul form. But will that be consoling a yearning heart, that yearns to touch the loved one, to feel them physically, to hear them, to cuddle them, and to be around them!!! Lossing a loved one would make our lives topsy- turvy. When we lose our loved one, with their physical death a part of our heart which loved them so deeply, experiences a vacuum, a vacuum that cannot be filled. We experience depression in times of grief, that is our nervous system shuts down so that we can adapt to things that we cannot handle (Kubler-Ross). It is very important for us to grieve the loss in order that we don’t have setbacks in our future relationships because of undealt grief. Grief is more of covert behavior that comprises our thoughts, emotions. Whereas mourning is an overt behavior. Our traditional rituals of funerals were meant for the purpose of mourning where we are provided a space to express our pent up emotions which are guarded by social support. According to Freud, bereavement(a state of loss when someone we loved has died) is a normal response to grief, it involves redirecting libido from the loss of loved object(loved ones) to a living person. Bereavement can be intense, violent, and prolonged that it may result in melancholia. Grief in itself is complex to understand. What shouldn’t we do to a person in grief? We shouldn’t tell them that it is all over and they should move on. Grief is unique and its intensity is based on the love the individual had for their loved one. The more intense the love was the more intense the grief will be. So then what should we do to a person in grief?
We should be empathetic and be a catalyst for them to pour out their emotions. According to Kubler-Ross, there are five stages of grief: Denial is the stage that occurs immediately after the loss, where the individual denies that a loss has occurred. It is one of the defense mechanism which helps us to handle the overwhelming pain; Anger is the stage when we can no longer deny the reality and where the pain re-emerges and we might experience anger on our deceased ones, on ourselves, people around especially on doctors and God; Bargaining is where we feel helpless and vulnerable. We try to cope up with the situations with “If only” statements. For example, if only I had him rushed to the hospital I would have saved him. Guilt accompanies bargaining. We often make deals with God and Doctors. For say, If God gives me back my loved one, I will fast every Sunday; Depression is a phase where the individual look into themselves try to process their emotions and often learn to accept the reality of the loss; Acceptance- is a phase where the individual decides to move ahead along with the acceptance of loss. Individuals might differ in the time they enter the stages and process their emotions and move to the other. There is no right or wrong timing. All that we need to provide is support. Studies state that many people rarely achieve the stage of acceptance. How can we help a person with grief? We can use existentialism to help them cope with the loss. That is helping them find meaning in their life that is finding meaning by doing, experiencing a value(like love, service). We can use bibliotherapies to deal with our grief. Books like many lives many masters, messages from the masters, death, and dying can be used. Writing letters to the loved ones can be a form of catharsis.