Dealing with Loss
By: Hana Hounaine
Experiencing the loss of a loved one is something everyone has or will experience at least once in their lives. Just recently, I have experienced the loss of a loved one, and it was a shock to myself as well as everyone around.
The worst thing about the situation is the feeling of helplessness, that one can do nothing about the loss of this person because death is simply irreversible. We experience thoughts of comforting the deceased person’s family, we try to digest, but we feel guilt and regret along with denial.
When surrounded by people in our support system, we feel stronger, but once we are alone we are lost in our thoughts, thinking about the last interaction we had with the person, and perhaps regret takes its course along with sadness and anger.
My point in writing this is to say, there is no right or wrong way to deal with loss. That intense feeling of pain and sadness is too much. The sleepless nights, random outbursts of crying at work, calm and quiet days where we can barely hear the daily noise of our fast-paced lives because we are consumed by our thoughts: there is no normal way to deal with loss, but there are five stages of grieving we all experience.
1. Denial and Isolation: The first reaction is to deny the reality of the situation. It is a normal reaction to rationalise overwhelming emotions. It is a defense mechanism that buffers the immediate shock, this is a temporary response which carries us through the first wave of pain.
2. Anger: As denial begins to wear, and reality starts setting in, we are initially not ready. The intense emotion is instead expressed as anger. Anger towards inanimate objects, complete strangers, friends or family. Anger may be directed at our dying or deceased loved one. We may resent the person for causing us pain or leaving us. We feel guilty for being angry, and this makes us angrier.
– If only I had told him I loved him…
– If only we had tried to be a better person toward them…
4. Depression: There are many phases to depression, and many associate it with normal states of mind. However, depression is an advanced, more intense feeling of sadness – and an inevitable part of dealing with loss.
5. Acceptance: Reaching this stage of mourning is a gift not everybody can afford. The best thing you can do is to allow yourself to feel grief as it comes over you. Resisting it only will prolong the natural process of healing.
Loss is a basic part of our life cycle. Whatever is born must die. Whatever grows must decay. These are universal laws. We tend to forget that these physical bodies are mortal. Everything we see around us will decay and cease to be one day.
Everything in the physical universe is temporary. When this fact is understood and accepted, we will begin to seek other, inner sources of security and happiness and truly learn to appreciate people around us and the moment of Now.