Understanding grief and coping with loss

Understanding grief and coping with loss of a loved one

PNB MetLife 20-05-2016 12:55:46 PM
Understanding grief and coping with loss of a loved one

Although no one likes to think about it, some day you may be called on to make the final arrangements when someone you love dies. Not everything can be prearranged, but being prepared will ease the stress during this difficult time and allow you to devote your energies to the emotional needs of your family and yourself. Read More

Stages of Grief

You may never be able to prepare for the grief that you will inevitably experience, but understanding that the journey is a long one and that you must take care of yourself along the way can help you coping with loss in general.

The grieving process is a complex cycle of emotions. Some experts have divided the process into stages of grief:

  • Denial. The initial sense of shock may cause you to doubt or refuse to believe that a loved one is actually gone. You may feel numb and may have physical side effects, such as insomnia, loss of appetite, and a racing heartbeat.
  • Anger. You may feel cheated or abandoned and take out your anger on your friends, family or those who cared for your loved one.
  • Depression. Often the longest and most difficult stage. Symptoms include feelings of sadness, despair and/or disorientation as well as other psychological and physical conditions.
  • Acceptance. You come to grips with the death and begin to move on with your life.

People don’t necessarily move through the grieving process in consecutive stages. You may go back and forth or be in more than one stage at a time and experience a wide range of emotions – guilt, fear, and sadness. The healing process is different for everyone and there is no timetable. Even after you have begun to come to terms with your loss, don’t be surprised if grief revisits you. Love for a person doesn’t end when they die.

If you find you are having suicidal thoughts or are relying on alcohol or drugs to numb your pain, seek professional help. If you are having problems working through your grief, share your thoughts and feelings with another person - it will help. You may want to join a support group or seek professional help. Local sources of help include hospitals, churches as well as health and social service agencies. There may also be employee assistance programs where you work. 

Thinking about good times shared with your loved one can sometimes be comforting. It’s also helpful to take extra good care of yourself at this time - get enough sleep, eat properly and exercise regularly. Remember that, at some time or another, everyone experiences similar feelings. There is nothing wrong with asking for help.