Sunday, November 28

How do you deal with the loss of a loved one by death?

Mourning the death of his wife, twentieth-century writer CS Lewis described grief as an “invisible barrier between him and the world”. For most people, this barrier goes away over time, but for some, the pain of the death of a loved one lasts for years. Everyone will experience this crisis, or he may have been exposed to it during some time earlier in his life, a crisis that extends the hand of death to take a person close to you or dear to you, this person may be the grandfather or grandmother during an early stage of our life, or the father or mother later when We get older. This is a non-categorical crisis, we are all going to lose someone we love at some point in our lives, and we often feel like we can’t move forward in our lives.

stages of grief

Grief is a natural reaction to any form of loss or loss. Grief includes a range of emotions, ranging from deep sadness to sometimes anger. The process of adapting and dealing effectively with a major loss can vary from one person to another, according to several factors, including: this person’s background or beliefs, his relationship to what/who lost or how attached he is to him.

After the loss, you wake up, and for a moment everything feels calm, then you remember what you lost. Your throat closes, and your stomach contracts. Yesterday you thought you had no more tears left to cry, but now they are rolling down your cheeks again. Your chest is tight and it is difficult for you to breathe. You do not know how you will face the next day, and you feel lonely and in pain. After any major loss, a process known as the “stages of grief” begins, a five-stage process that Swiss psychiatrist Elisabeth Kubler-Ross referred to in her book On Death and Dying. The first of these stages is the stage of denial, which includes convincing the person to himself that the traumatic event that causes him pain did not happen. The person may believe outwardly that the traumatic event did not actually happen, but deep down he knows the truth (1).

After that, the second stage begins, which is anger. People often feel angry when they lose someone dear to them, during this stage you may feel many mood swings, you may quarrel with those around you for flimsy reasons, or you may scream because you are stuck in traffic. Anger is a misunderstood emotion, but it is nonetheless an important stage in recovering from the feeling of loss.

Later comes the bargaining stage, and it can be considered the guilt stage as well. During that time, you hope or believe that you could have changed what happened if you did something specific, you might want to go back in time to do something you weren’t doing, or back out of something that already happened, you have thoughts like: “I’ll call my grandmother every day if it’s I can only get it back,” or “I wish I had done this before my mom left, she wanted it so badly.”

The fourth stage is the stage of depression, the depression that you feel after the death of a loved one is not necessarily the same as clinical depression, but this type of persistent sadness is similar to clinical depression in that it affects people and hinders their normal course of life, and differs with it in that this type of depression Sadness-related depression usually passes after some time. During this stage, the person finds himself crying constantly, and may suffer from a loss of appetite and disturbed sleep. Some people may also suffer from physical aches and pains for which doctors may not know the cause, and the immune system is weakened, which makes the person more susceptible to disease.

After a while, the fifth and final stage of grief begins, which is acceptance, which is the stage during which you accept and acknowledge the loss. You may feel some peace at this stage, but you still carry some sadness, and perhaps anger. Accepting the loss does not mean that you are no longer sad; But it means that you are trying to live with the situation and adapt to the rules of life.

The previous stages are not a fixed outfit worn by everyone who goes through loss and experiences sadness, as not everyone may go through these five stages, and these stages may not necessarily occur in a linear way, for example, some people may fall into the trap of a cycle of anger and depression together, while some cannot reach to the acceptance stage.

As a result, the Kobler-Ross model is not the only psychological scientific view of grief that mental health professionals use. In fact, the model receives much criticism and lacks consensus about it. In contrast, another method that attempts to understand the grieving process is the “four tasks of mourning” theory advanced by psychologist J. William Worden. According to Worden, healing occurs gradually when the bereavement deals with four main tasks in no specific order. The first is to accept the reality of the loss, and to try to bring the mind to the realization of someone’s death, without denial or flight. What happens during this task is trying to internalize the loss and trying to integrate the new reality into your world.

The second task is to address the pain of grief. Grief is a feeling that has many facets: emotional, cognitive, physical, and spiritual. One of the goals of support groups that aim to address the pain of grief is to encourage and facilitate the safe expression of all normal grief responses.

The third task is to try to adapt to a world without the bereaved you love. This task includes external adjustments, taking responsibilities and learning new skills, as well as making internal adjustments to accommodate your new identity, and spiritual adjustments to address questions, your beliefs, and the purpose and meaning of life.

The fourth task that Worden set is to create a lasting relationship with the deceased. In the process of embarking on a new life, during this stage a balance will be gradually created between remembering the person who died and living a full and meaningful life. (2)

Between depression and sadness

Prolonged grief after losing a loved one differs from depression. This type of grief is more common in people who have lost a child or romantic partner, and is more likely to occur after sudden or violent deaths, such as death from homicide, suicide, or accidents. Statistics show that one in ten bereaved people develops PDSD, according to an analysis by Marie Lunddorf, of Aarhus University in Denmark. (3) Without treatment, the condition can persist indefinitely, leading to problems and disorders such as substance abuse. Drugs, suicidal ideation, sleep disturbances, and impaired immune function (4).

The International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) describes prolonged grief after the death of a loved one as persistent longing or preoccupation with the deceased that lasts at least six months after the loss. In addition, people with this disorder often experience intense emotional pain that may include feelings such as sadness, guilt or anger, difficulty accepting death, inability to overcome this mood, and difficulty engaging in social activities (5).

In the same vein, Holly Briggerson, M.D., professor of geriatrics at Weill Cornell Medicine and co-director of Weill Cornell Medicine’s Center for End-of-Life Research Research, and colleagues suggest a set of criteria for prolonged grief disorder that includes many symptoms, such as feeling emotional numbness or stupor, or That life is meaningless, in addition to suffering from mistrust, bitterness of loss, and difficulty in accepting it, unlike crises of identity confusion and difficulty moving forward in life. (6)

For people who experience this type of grief, the emotions are often intense, as well as intense longing and preoccupation with the memories of their loved ones. On the other hand, depressed people feel that their emotions are muted, and they tend to crave almost nothing. (7) Differences between the two groups also appear in the brain. Mary Frances O’Connor, PhD, at the University of Arizona, and her colleagues studied bereaved women experiencing prolonged grief and found that they showed increased activity in the nucleus accumbens, the brain region associated with reward. The authors explain that remembering the deceased increases reward neural activity, which may interfere with adaptation and acceptance of loss (8), while depressed people do not show such activity in their reward centers.

There are certain cases of loss that generate the greatest amount of negative feelings compared to others, especially miscarriage. Abortion causes tremendous feelings of loss and grief for expectant mothers and for others who, like the grandparents of a lost child, have long awaited the birth of a child. It is perfectly normal to feel sad after a miscarriage, but 15% of women who miscarry have more serious problems, and these conditions may require the help of a qualified mental health professional. (9)

Symptoms that the mother may suffer after an abortion include: depression, anger, guilt, sadness, difficulty concentrating, tiredness and fatigue, trouble sleeping, loss of appetite, frequent bouts of crying, negatively affecting the mother’s relationships with family or friends, attempts to self-harm which may amount to suicide. (10), (11)

Likewise, deaths due to the pandemic are a uniquely bitter experience, due to health orders that prevent people from saying goodbye to deceased loved ones or gathering with others to mourn. About this, Dr. Robert Niemeyer, professor of psychology at the University of Memphis in the United States of America, says that loss during the epidemic negatively affects our understanding of the world around us and our interaction with it, as “losses include losing our sense of predictability, control, justice, and the belief that we can protect Our children or elderly loved ones.”

In the face of sadness

Some researchers suggest “writing” as a solution to dealing with these feelings, says psychologist James Bonnebaker, of the University of Texas at Austin, that writing about emotional disorders can improve both physical and mental health. (12) To do this, identify what you are thinking and feeling, and write About your personal strengths, this will help you see the whole picture, and recover from negative emotions.

Social support is another tool that can be critical in helping to move past the grief, rather than getting more involved in it, but this presents a problem at a time when physical distancing is recommended, as people are isolated in their homes away from their loved ones, Dr. Robert Niemeyer says: “During this time, There may be an erosion of social support and the meaningful social roles that underpin our identities.” To bypass this, people can be encouraged to stay in touch with their social support networks through phone calls, text messages, video chat and social media. “One thing we’ve learned from disasters is the continued importance of social support,” says Erica Felix, a psychologist at the University of California who treats survivors of trauma and disasters.(13)

The facts tell us that most people can recover from the pain of a loved one’s death over time if they have social support and healthy habits. It may take months or a year to adjust to the new situation. There is no “standard” time period. Some people may experience sadness for longer periods and feel unable to carry out daily activities. Research also tells us that a period of mourning the death of a loved one can be a catalyst for a renewed sense of meaning that makes us more aware of our goals and direction in life. loss or loss, which can be considered as a new incentive for life and continuity. (14)

Well, here are practical tips on what you can do during this difficult time: First, you should talk and share your thoughts and feelings with others. Talking will help you express your feelings and will help you realize what happened and avoid denying it, while isolation will delay recovery, so you should avoid it.

You also have to accept your feelings. During this period, you may experience an overlapping set of feelings, such as sadness, anger, or even fatigue, all of these feelings are normal and you have to accept them. Eating healthy foods, exercising and getting enough sleep can help maintain your physical and mental health, here you must know that the process of grief negatively affects our bodies, as it affects the effectiveness of the immune system, and leaves the body more susceptible to disease, so care must be taken. Do yourself a favor and make sure you get basic self-care during this time. (15)

Also, family ties can provide some comfort during grieving. If you are experiencing the loss of a member of your family, it means that the other members of your family are experiencing the same thing, although it means something different for each of you. Spending time together can help you cope, whether you spend that time sharing stories or situations with your deceased loved one or just talking about him, these small efforts can make a big difference for some. (16)

If you’ve tried to do all of that, but still feel like you can’t handle life, can’t perform the tasks required of you, and have been struggling for a long period of time until the sadness has subsided, this could be a sign that you need some professional help to get over. on the crisis.(17)

The goal of therapy here is to help you come to terms with the fact that you have lost a loved one, and adjust to the new situation moving forward. Death may end someone’s life, but there is still a lot to hold on to. The doctor will direct the person to reimagine and rebuild their relationship with their deceased loved ones rather than abandoning it.(18)


  1. On Death and Dying Paperback – June 9, 1997
  3. ICD-11
  4. Complicated grief and bereavement-related depression as distinct disorders: preliminary empirical validation in elderly bereaved spouses
  5. Prolonged Grief Disorder: Psychometric Validation of Criteria Proposed for DSM-V and ICD-11
  6. Craving love? Enduring grief activates brain’s reward center
  7. A Study of Graduate Student Grief and ProlongedGrief Disorde
  8. The staging of grief: Toward an active model of mourning
  9. Miscarriage and loss
  10. After a Miscarriage: Surviving Emotionally
  11. 3 Grief Counseling Therapy Techniques & Interventions
  12. Expressive Writing in Psychological Science
  13. Grieving life and loss
  14. Meaning reconstruction & the experience of loss.
  15. Grief: Coping with the loss of your loved one
  16. The Grief of Losing a Parent Is Complex
  17. Prevalence of prolonged grief disorder in adult bereavement: A systematic review and meta-analysis
  18. Complicated Grief

More article

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *