Living With Grieving
(BlackDoctor.org) — Death has a bad name in our culture, and it is all too often that a grieving person is told to “get over it”, “carry on”, or “be strong” in the midst of their grief.
While these bromides may be easy to say, they are generally unhelpful and can short-circuit or interrupt the very healthy grieving process of someone’s who’s lost a loved one.
Last week, my wife’s father died of a sudden heart attack at the age of 75. Diabetic, overweight, and prone to various dietary indulgences, his death was not entirely unexpected in the bigger picture, but one always feels that there’s more time, more visits, another Christmas, another family vacation or reunion down the road. His death was shocking on some levels, and the grieving began from the moment my wife received the call from her mother that he had indeed died.
Stages of Grief
The 5 Stages of Grief. As developed by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross in the 1960s and 1970s, there are generally five widely accepted basic stages of the grieving process, and these include denial, anger, depression, bargaining, and acceptance. This process, however, is not cut and dry, and these stages can occur in any order over an enormously variable amount of time. Some individuals may cycle through all five stages in the course of a single afternoon, while others may remain in one stage for weeks or months, “stuck” in depression or “stalled” in an overwhelming feeling of anger.
A Multitude of Emotions. While these stages may seem somewhat simplistic on a certain level, their simplicity belies the notion that, hidden within those five stages are a multitude of feelings and emotions that contribute to the overall sense of loss that each stage communicates. The depressed person may isolate, but the angry person may also do the same, and while one person bargains with God, another may simply move into a feeling of acceptance, only to be overwhelmed with grief when the next birthday or holiday rolls around.