Grief is what we experience after a significant loss in our lives. It is most commonly associated with the loss of a loved one, but can also apply to the loss of a job, home, pet, or other significant thing or possession in our lives. There are many emotions that we go through, and you may be familiar with the “Kubler-Ross Model” more commonly known as the 5 stages of grief or loss.
The stages are:
Denial → Anger → Bargaining → Depression → Acceptance
Not everyone experiencing grief will go through each stage, and they will not necessarily occur in order. It is more of an outline to show the wide array of feelings that we can go through when dealing with loss. The factors involved in the loss will also determine the length of the grieving process and the severity of emotions we feel. The strength of the relationship of the person you lose, the support group around you, how someone passed away, and other outside factors in your life will all have an effect on the grieving process.
Grieving is an important and necessary process. Some people will try to push off the grieving process either to care for other family members, focus on other events in their life, or try to avoid it all together. This can allow the pain from the loss to grow or linger. Grieving allows us to deal with our emotions and face the reality of the situation. When this is pushed off it only makes the process more difficult later on. If you are having difficulty with the grieving process you should consider visiting a therapist.
Talking about the loss of a loved one, looking back on memories, and talking about life without them are subjects that can be difficult to talk about, especially with other friends or family who might be going through the same grieving process. A therapist will listen intently to what you have to say and provide you with an outlet to express your emotions and work through the grieving process. This is extremely helpful and can prevent you from dealing with bouts of depression. Grief also might bring on emotions that are unfamiliar for some people because they have not experienced them before. A therapist can help to explain these feelings and offer ways to effectively deal with them.
The loss of a loved one will never completely stop hurting. You will be reminded of that person from time to time and it may be difficult to think about them. Counseling is not a “cure” for grief, but a way to manage the feelings you have during the grieving process. Remembering the good times you experienced with your loved one and having positive thoughts about them is an effective way to overcome the sad feelings that accompany grief.