Coping with loss: a bereavement that’s just happened

October 17th, 2023
Coping with loss and the five stages of grief

“Some things cannot be fixed; they can only be carried. Grief like yours, love like yours, can only be carried.”
Megan Devine

Coping with loss: a bereavement that’s just happened

If you have just experienced a bereavement and lost someone you love, the pain you feel right now can be all-consuming.

It can feel absolute, eternal, and you may have no idea how you are going to live in a world without the person who has just died.

Coping with a bereavement is something nearly everyone has to face at some point in their lives, but it is an intensely personal experience that differs from person to person.

In this blog, we will explore the various aspects of dealing with the recent loss of a loved one and provide guidance and support on how to navigate the difficult path ahead.

The Five Stages of Grief

The “Five Stages of Grief” is a model that was first introduced by psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross in her 1969 book “On Death and Dying”.

Her framework was designed to help people suffering with a bereavement to understand and process their emotions.

The stages are as follows:

  1. Denial: The first stage is denial – a protective mechanism that helps people cope with the initial overwhelming feelings that come with a bereavement. People may feel shock and disbelief – refusing to believe that their loved one is gone.
  2. Anger: Anger is a normal part of the grieving process and represents the pain and frustration associated with loss. This anger can be directed at the individual, toward others, and even the person who has died.
  3. Bargaining: Experiencing a bereavement makes people feel out of control because it’s not something they can change. During this stage, individuals may engage in “what if” or “if only” thinking to try and regain a sense of control.
  4. Depression: This stage is when it really hits home that the person is gone and is never coming back. It comes with overwhelming sadness, hopelessness, and feelings of emptiness.
  5. Acceptance: The final stage of grief is acceptance. This doesn’t mean the individual has “got over” their loss or no longer feels pain. Instead, it signifies that they have come to terms with the reality of the situation and have found a way to move forward.

It’s important to remember that these stages are not set in stone, and not everyone experiences them in the same way or order. Some people may move back and forth between stages, and some may skip certain stages altogether.

What can help me feel better?

The truth is – following a bereavement, you will never truly be the same again.

But what you can do is learn to carry that grief in a healthy way so it doesn’t have an impact on your long-term quality of life.

It’s also important to remember that there is no “right way” to grieve and that you shouldn’t put pressure on yourself to behave a certain way because you think that’s what society expects of you.

Here are some things however that you might find helpful to do when you’re going through a bereavement:

Allow yourself to feel

No one likes being sad and to many people, the only thing worse than feeling sad is letting everyone around you know that you’re sad.

However, it’s really important to show yourself some compassion when you’re dealing with the loss of a loved one and allow yourself to feel – after all, you are going through a life-changing process.

It’s normal to feel a range of emotions – from sadness to anger to hopelessness, and suppressing these things can hinder the healing process.

Take the time to acknowledge your feelings and understand that they are a natural part of mourning.

Make time for self-care

Even though it’s hard, try and make time for self-care when you’re going through the bereavement process. Make sure to eat well, get enough rest, engage in regular exercise, or pursue your hobbies.

Accept the unpredictability of the bereavement journey

Grief doesn’t follow a linear path. It can come in waves, hitting you when you least expect it. Some days, you might feel like you’re making progress, while others, you might feel like you’re back at square one.

This unpredictability is normal. Be patient with yourself and understand that healing is not a straight line.

Honour your loved one

A lot of people find solace in honouring their loved one through creating memories or continuing their legacy. This could take the form of planting a tree in a place that had a special meaning to them, creating a scrapbook of memories, or supporting a cause they were passionate about.

These acts can help you remember and celebrate the life of the person you lost, fostering a sense of connection even in their absence.

Seeking professional support

You don’t have to go through this journey alone, and there is absolutely no shame in asking for help.

Here at The Therapy Room, we understand that everyone is unique and therefore that everyone’s bereavement journey will be different.

That’s why we don’t have a one-size-fits-all approach and realise the importance of developing a course of treatment that is tailored to the individual.

Going through a bereavement is an intensely difficult experience and your emotions and feelings deserve to feel seen and listened to.

Founder Jay L Pink Ad.Prof.Dip MBACP PC MNCS (ACC) established The Therapy Room to offer high quality, expert counselling and therapy services to people of all ages, as well as to couples for relationship and partner counselling and groups for corporate and family therapy. Jay’s commitment to anyone visiting The Therapy Room is to unconditionally respect values, lifestyle, background and beliefs, offering a discreet and professional service tailored to their needs.

Therapy is held either in-person at The Therapy Room in Northampton or online.

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