Grieving is usually a complicated process, which has different effects on people depending on their environment, support of the nearest and dearest, and stages of grieving. In particular, there is a need to consider each aspect of mourning, which is important to be learnt from the psychological point of view. The current paper reflects the essence of dying and differences in bereavement process across the life span, discusses grieving from the perspective of four-component model, and explains five stages of dying according to Kübler-Ross.
As long as grief has different effects on human’s mind, it is appropriate to discuss the grieving process and the role of death across the life span. In childhood, people might believe that a dead relative is in heaven or in another peaceful place. However, sometimes children may fall in the depression feeling continuous pain of the loss. In adolescence, people tend to be egocentric and try not to involve in the bereavement process someone else. Adults prefer coping with the pain on their own without asking for help. Avoidance of others is the main characteristic feature of the bereavement process in adulthood. Elderly people, in their turn, are prone to increase their realization that death is unavoidable and tend to react to it with patience and understanding. The following stages of grief prevail in the behavior of anyone suffering from the loss.
The first stage of grief is denial. According to my personal experience, I was unlucky to lose a friend when I was thirteen years old. I used to refuse to believe in the loss of my friend and could not realize that it was possible to accept the fact of his demise. However, this stage did not take long. As soon as I realized that the tragedy was real and accepted death, the next phase came in its full force – depression. Loneliness and insecurity accompany depression for a long time disturbing a person in all routine activities (Brocklehurst, Hearnshaw, & Machin, 2014). The next stage is anger, which penetrated me through all phases but in different forms. It destroyed my normal performance and isolated me from others. The final stage is acceptance, which helped me to move on and understand that death is unavoidable.
The loss is always terrifying as long as it is hard to believe that the dearest person will never be in this world. As soon as I faced the death of my friend, I could not understand how to find relief. His demise was sudden and unexpected. The car hit my friend and his injuries were not compatible with life. The tragedy occurred too fast and it was hard to realize that everything happening around me was real.
While facing death, I kept asking questions whether I would ever see the lost friend. I started thinking about the meaning of life and my role in the world. It was hard to turn back to the normal life. I could not eat or do anything at school. It was impossible to concentrate and perform the routine duties.
During lifetime, the lost relationships have different meaning for individuals. Right after his demise, I sharply accepted the loss of my friend and thought about the things, which should be done before death. There was much grief because of the lost opportunities to spend time with the lost friend. Grieving centered on imagining life with my friend, which led to continuous depression (Miller, 2015). However, the following stages helped me to cease the feeling of loneliness. I remembered only the happiest moments with the lost one and tried to save the image of the happy friend in mind. Time heals, and this is the best cure for the loss.
Emotions play a significant role in coping with stress during grief (Sheehy, 2013). According to my experience, they can help to handle stress. My family was the biggest support to me in handling the pain and revealing my emotions. It is essential to have heart-to-hear talks and speak about feelings. Regardless of the fact that it was difficult to start talking about the tragedy, it was much better to set feelings and thoughts free instead of conserving them. Otherwise, it would be harder to overcome the loss and accept the current state of the life.
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Elizabeth Kübler-Ross is the one who described the five stages of grieving including denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance (Axelrod, 2014). All these categories have a specific meaning leading to the establishment of a systematic process of grief. Denial is a refusal to accept the events or facts. This stage considers that the world becomes meaningless. An individual tries to find reasons for moving on and returning to the normal way of life. However, this period is characterized with being numb and shocked. The next stage is anger, which means that the person feels no limits of anger and can cover pain with irritation. This phase may consider turning to religion and asking whether God exists or not. In addition, the person may get angry with anyone at any minute. The following stage is bargaining. It is a period when an individual is willing to do anything in order to bring the old life back. Guilt is often one of the emotions accompanying bargaining. Depression is the final stage, which may take too much time before the relief takes place. It includes empty feelings and avoidance of people. In general, it indicates that the person is on the way to relief; however, it does not mean that it will come soon. This phase requires additional support and, in some cases, help of the healthcare professional. Acceptance is the final stage, which means that it became possible to live with the tragedy and accept its fact.