It's All Soul's Day. That means we try to remember those who have passed away. It got me to thinking about the whole grief process. It is such a different experience for everyone. There is no right way to grieve but it can certainly hurt you if the negative emotions linger too long.
If you ever took Psych 101, you know the basic stages of grief. These stages don't necessarily go in order and you can jump around between them a lot:
- Denial - when you first hear the news your brain may have a difficult time comprehending the facts and you may not believe the death occurred.
- Anger - this can be directed at yourself, the deceased, God, doctors...you name it. It's a way for your brain to release all of that pent-up negative emotion that you are feeling.
- Bargaining - this is where you ask yourself all the "what ifs" and lament things you should have done or said when you still had a chance.
- Depression - this is where the overwhelming sense of sadness engulfs you.
- Acceptance - if you can get through the above, you will probably learn to accept the loss and move on with your life.
It is important that those who are grieving take care of themselves. This means you are getting enough sleep, are eating healthy, exercising, and avoiding alcohol. Caring for yourself also means finding healthy ways to vent the strong emotions that you are feeling. Crying is an example but you can also write in a journal, create works of art, punch a pillow, do crafts, etc.
Those going through the grief process should delay making big decisions. They should also rely on the support of others such as family members, friends, co-workers, church members, pastors. counselors, or support groups. I remember when my mom passed away. I could not do even the most basic things like balance my checkbook. I had a friend that stepped in and helped me out until my mind was clearer. Don't be afraid to seek help if you need it.
Death and grief are a part of life and something that we all will deal with at some point. When it's your turn to cope be sure you are taking care of yourself as best you can.