The Stages Of Grief
A brief look at the stages of greif; the way grieving can make you feel and why you feel this way. What is a normal emotional response to grief, and what isn't normal?
At some point in time we all have to deal with grief. It is an intensely personal emotion, but at the same time one that we all will have at one time or another. Grieving is normal, whether it is a beloved pet, a close relative, or a public figure that we have never met, but have admired, we all grieve.
Anger at the person who died is normal. They have left you, and you are not ready for them to leave. Accept that you have the right to be angry. You may also feel anger at yourself, God, the doctors, the survivors, or any one else connected with the death. This is also normal as long as it doesn't become obsessive.
Joy at someone's death is also normal. You could feel that they have gone on to a better place, or that suffering has finally ended. You may feel that it was better that they didn't suffer, or live as a vegetable. This is again normal and doesn't mean you are a bad person. Don't feel that you must express only the 'acceptable' emotions. Happiness for the person that has died is fine, as is happiness for yourself if you had difficulties with that person.
Fear that someone else you know may die is common, and not unfounded. If someone is depressed, a death may cause suicidal behavior. That is not normal or acceptable. If you know of someone who is so stricken with grief over a death that you fear that they may become suicidal, or if you are stricken please seek professional help.
Any emotion that you can think of, will be present in grief, only when it becomes debilitating and prevents you from performing your normal tasks should you consider it abnormal. Grief does not have a definite time frame. People will still feel grief 10 years after a loved one has died when reminded by a scent, a song, an action, almost anything can trigger it. This is a testimony of the deceased's influence upon your life while they were alive.
Allow yourself to grieve by remembering the person who has gone. Don't idealize them, they had faults, and strengths remember them both. Make sure you keep your relationship with the deceased in proportion, don't allow yourself to remember only the bad, or only the good. People are not perfect and the departed was as imperfect as you. As long as we remember the person who was, then they haven't truly left us. We carry a part of them in our hearts and minds that is a gift that they can only give us when they die.
If you feel overwhelmed by grief don't hesitate to reach out for help, whether it is a professional, or a close friend seek help to deal with the roller coaster emotions that you feel as part of the grieving process. You are not alone, but will feel alone, reach out for help and accept that you are not alone in caring for the person.