Grief effects us all
Each and everyone of us has or will experience grief many times. It is a word we automatically associate with death. The reason for this connection is that the loss of a loved one is when a person experiences their biggest and strongest feelings of grief. Even though death is the main reason this is not the only reason.
There are also many other reasons we grieve, now I say this not in any way to minimise bereavement but to recognise that much of our global population has felt grief over 2020/2021 perhaps you have too.
Death is not the only cause of grief
Simply losing something can make us suffer grief. Consider our sociable friend starved of kinship. Your elderly neighbour missing her visits from family near and far. The single mother with no family in permitted travel distance to give her some much needed me time and help with day to day.
Adjusting to the new normal has effected most of the world lately. The loss of freedoms, health, choices and even loved ones.
Reasons we grieve:
Loss of a loved one
Loss of freedoms
Loss of connection
Loss of friendships
Loss of support
Loss of health
Loss of normality
What Grief Looks Like
The Stages Of Grief
These stages were first documented by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross in 1969 in her book Death and Dying and are widely recognised. One key point that she had to later clarified was that the stages are not a step 1 then step 2 process - since we may experience, all, some or none of the stages of grief. They are common stages but not a blueprint of what everyone's grief looks like.
Stages of Grief:
Grief is not linear it follows no exact path
There is no straight path
How much easier would it be if we started grief at one stage and emerged though a step by step sequence and emerged at the other side. In reality this is not what occurs and grief is difference for each of us though having the common stages. So we can’t tick a box saying that’s me completed my grieving. Instead it takes an indirect route, often revisiting stages and not in a set order or time frame. Each individual will grieve in their unique way though often including all of the stages.
Here I have shown in visual form how grief may look. Notice each is difference and commonly we can move back through stages of grief or even start again. With no exact path and order of stages everyone's path will be unique, they are all okay they are all part of grief.
Does Grief End?
Part of our journey
In society its often We say the “process of grief” and “going through grief” the words we use suggest a finality as if it ends as if it completes. However for many the loss doesn’t leave but instead it is accepted and it becomes a part of us as we grow as an individual.
How Does Grief Show Itself
Grief can negatively exhibit in many ways effecting both our mind and body
A person going through grief may experience lack of focus, lack of appetite, sleep disruption, mood swings, exhaustion and/or anxiety.
The many faces of grief they are you, they are I, they are everyone of us. A person going through grief doesn’t have sign on their head saying so, we often have no clue if a person is grieving. Sometimes the person may let us know but other than outwardly showing emotion we are non the wiser.
“And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.”
This emotion raises it weary head readily when processing grief. It appears unexpectedly with vengeance and it is not picky on who it lashes out at.
This stage of grief is difficult not just for the one grieving but for those around us too. Normally without grief our tolerance would be for example 1-10 and it would take a big problem to feel the anger rise to a 10. But with this stage of grief we may well find our selves as a default being a 7 or an 8 and very little makes our anger rise up. This can be incredibly frustrating as you know its out of character and you do not want to feel that way or be so reactive. Even the emotional awareness of recognising this in yourself can add to the anger.
“When people are criticized or humiliated, they rarely respond well and will often become defensive and resent their critic. To handle people well, we must never criticize, condemn or complain because it will never result in the behaviour we desire.”
Dale Carnegie, How to Win Friends and Influence People
If you can be anything, be kind
This saying comes to mind “Be Kind, you never know what someone else is going through.” We often judge peoples actions very quickly, it is easier to do than not do in all honesty. When a person doesn’t say “hi” back to us we label them as rude, a person snaps at another on Facebook we may label that person as vile and it goes on and on. I have to say I have seen a mass of reactiveness on social media over this last year and perhaps you can say the same? Perhaps the phone or PC enable venting and makes it far to easy for society to judge.
How can we help?
It sound cliché but from my experience never ever ask “Are you okay?” this often focuses a persons attention back to where they don’t want it and it can trigger the tears they have been so desperately been trying to hold back. Instead let them instead guide you to what they are ready for, as each person is different and has different needs. Saying “I am here if you want to talk” may just help.
If you are experiencing grief I ask you to give yourself love and patience and to reach out when you need support from your loved ones.
ps: Would you like advice? Just drop me a message to hear how I used essential oils to support grief personally. Click here
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