Grief is a very personal thing, in my experience of research and listening to others, no two people grieve in the same way although there may be similarities. Those who specialise in grief counseling will tell you that it goes through specific phases – denial, anger, sadness, bargaining and acceptance. I have never liked any sort of prescriptive statement of an emotional process like this. Whenever people encounter it whilst grieving they invariably try to work out what part of the process they are in and if they fit the “norm”.
Is there a Process to Grief?
When people ask – “Will it get better/easier?” the general answer is “yes” but there will likely always be a part of us that still grieves if only a little, we mainly get on with life and give ourselves over to what we still have in it. There will always be times, depending on the relationship of the person to you, when the loss feels stronger. Family events like Christmas or weddings etc. when they would have played a particular role, been a character, an embarrassment or a rock.
If you have lost a child, then it may seem like the future stretches out before you with nothing more than sadness and emptiness. Again when this is how you feel it is impossible to imagine how it could ever feel better. If you had a very difficult childhood with abuse of any kind then there will be a lot of mixed and confusing emotions. If you are in this position then there are specialist counselling and support services and I urge you to contact your local ones and get the support you need to avoid isolation.
Following the death of a loved one we are more prone to infection and illness. It is extremely important to take loving care of yourself. It is well documented that within 12-18months onwards a serious health problem can occur with the long term partner of someone who has died. This reflects the sense of loss of purpose, joy, love of life and negative thoughts and beliefs that can take hold at that time. Being a Carer for an ageing parent can dramatically effect the immune system and scientists have found that their reduced immunity continued even long after they ceased to be Carers (more on this). If you are experiencing a health problem take a look at the health page.
Amongst other feelings and emotions guilt is another one that can be very damaging to your overall health and happiness. No matter what the circumstances most people feel guilty when someone dies. It may be that you feel you did not do enough, did not see them as often as you might, left things unsaid or unresolved.
If you are experiencing grief, as we all will at sometime in our lives, you have my love. I am not going to say I understand what you are feeling as I know you are an individual and your experience is unique to you. Losing those close to us is part of life, we have a right to all our feelings and emotions including anger and disappointment. Make sure you do not remain stuck in the past. use releasing work either personally or in a group/supportive setting to assist the process of moving forward. This is not to forget or negate your feelings but to vent them, allow them to flow out in a healthy way. Remember you still have a life to experience and fulfill in its richness, gifts to offer, love to share. You carry who ever it is you have lost in a special place in your heart.