Grief is as individual as a snowflake…

When we suffer a loss, a process of adaptation and change begins. This process is called grief. To really understand grief, one needs to go through it and embrace it.

Each of us is different and will attain the completion of grieving in its unique way. And let me tell you, there is no right or wrong way. The way that works for you, is the way forward. There are typically five phases of grieving, and some of us can go through them all, but some of us may not.

1. Shock – inability to accept what has happened, numbness and detachment.

2. Separation and pain – the disconnection becomes physically apparent and causes a feeling of being torn apart and unbearable distress. Seeing the deceased in vivid dreams is very common.

3. Despair – depression, anger, guilt, anxiety, all extreme emotions and a lack of focus and inability to rest.

4. Acceptance – intellectual acceptance occurs before the emotional one, mood swings, extreme sadness and relentlessness

5. Resolution and reorganisation – finding new ways forward, ability to bring about nice memories, adaptation to the new settings and changes.

Each of us will experience the phases in very distinctive gravity and even order. We can also experience massive discrepancies between the bereavements we are going through, as the feeling of grieving is very strongly related to the attachments we had with the deceased.

Bowlby suggested that our first attachments, especially to those significant others, are mostly based on biological connections and they promote security and a sense of safety. Therefore the loss of these biologically established attachments might cause a strong emotional protest and intense anxiety as our human being’s survival mode depends on the ability to attach and form relationships.

I just wanted to draw your attention to the many different stages and forms of grieving we may be going through when experiencing the death of those we loved and cared for. We all have had, or will experience bereavement at some point in our life, as this kind of loss is one of those certainties we have to face. Having the awareness of what we may have to confront when the time will come, may be very useful for us and those around us. Knowing how the process of grief operates will allow us to accept what we are going through, as we will know what to anticipate.

Counselling Directory is not responsible for the articles published by members. The views expressed are those of the member who wrote the article.

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