(*disclaimer: I do not know who to give credit to for this image, I found it on Google images)
A loved one passing away is always a difficult time. In fact, the death of a loved one of the higher scoring life events in the social readjustment rating scale (commonly known as the Holmes and Rahe stressor scale) scoring 63.
On the morning of 21st of May a very important and special person in my life passed away – my nana. My nana was a major part of my life. She was always there for me and stuck up for me when it felt like the rest of the world was against me. She helped raise me. Actually, at times she was my primary care giver. I can honestly say I am the person I am today thanks to her. I am still here thanks to her.
Many different emotions can occur from a bereavement – shock, anger, guilt, sadness, emptiness, even relief. It is important to remember that this is natural. Even when you know that a person is dying, their death is still a shock. My nana had cancer. It was in her lungs, adrenal glands and they thought that it may have spread to her brain. She went into a hospice as her kidneys were shutting down and thanks to the hard work from all the staff they managed to get them to normal function again. As a result we got an extra month to spend with her. We were told that they could not give us a length of time at that point, but we knew that we did not have long. Still, when that change happened and it became clear that my nana was dying it was a huge shock. It still knocks you over. No matter how much time you have “to prepare” nothing actually takes away that gut-wrenching, devastating shock that takes over your whole body when your loved one is dying/dies.
People tend to find that the first few months after losing a loved one is spent doing practical things – getting affairs sorted, arranging the funeral, sorting out the will. It can be a while afterwards when your loss finally hits you properly.
While grief is universal it differs from person to person. It is solely unique to each person, and the relationship that you lost. That being said there is a basic model of stages of grief that is used. In 1969, Kübler-Ross introduced a model with several stages of grief. Typically this is known as the seven stages of grief or the five stages of grief. These stages are shock and disbelief, denial, anger, bargaining, guilt, depression and acceptance and hope. People talk about the five stages of grief which is shock and denial being blocked together and bargaining and guilt put together.
The Seven Stages of Grief:
- Shock and disbelief
- Acceptance and Hope
The Five Stages of Grief:
- Denial/ Shock/ Disbelief
Although this model is accepted, not everybody who grieves experiences every stage and there is no “correct” order to go through. This is a psychological framework to better understand grief and to hopefully help support people who are grieving.
No matter how your grief manifests, and you get hit with that wave of strong emotion remember there is no “correct” way, allow yourself the time to feel, to process and talk about your feelings. Talking about your feelings can help. Ask for help and support. Whether that be from loved ones, your doctor, a counsellor, some kind of bereavement service, if you need help ask for it! Asking for help is not a sign of weakness, it is the opposite, it can make you stronger. It can strengthen bonds, makes things easier for you, help you cope. Keep in mind their is no instant fix. You need to experience grief your way and do what you have to do to begin to heal.
As a side note, if you want more information about the Holmes and Rahe Scale or the Stages of Grieving. Look them up, there is loads of information out there!
Also if you are struggling, please do reach out for help. It really can make a difference.