How to deal with grief EB

What to expect

Grief is individual. The way a person dies may have a strong impact on their loved ones. Someone who is grieving may experience some or all of the following emotions – shock, denial, anger, fear, guilt and relief.

No matter what emotion you are experiencing, be kind to yourself. It is important to try to accept that your emotions are normal and valid, even if your family or friends are experiencing different emotions. Grief impacts everyone differently.

To help you move through your grief, it is important to talk to others – friends, family, healthcare professionals and others around you whom you trust. Talking to your loved one who has passed is natural; talk about the memories you shared, write letters to them and explore your different emotions.

Learn and use what you feel is a safe and supportive environment – this is different for everyone (e.g. social group, hobby, piece of music, an article of clothing, etc.). Be aware of your own resilience and how to make it stronger through self-awareness and developing coping skills.

Coping with grief

There are many ways someone may experience grief and loss, and there are several models that have been developed by psychology experts to explain the different stages and processes people experience grief. However, grief is individual, and these models are not experienced by everyone.

Kübler-Ross Model

Also known as the five stages of grief, the Kübler-Ross model suggests that people often manage grief in five different stages. Sometimes these stages overlap or are experienced in a different order, but the researchers suggest that everyone experiences these stages at some point in their grieving process.

Stage 1: Denial – believing something isn’t true and holding on to a false reality.

Stage 2: Anger – accepting the truth and becoming frustrated by the situation and what has happened.

Stage 3: Bargaining – trying to avoid the grief by trying to seek a compromise (usually with a ‘higher power’).

Stage 4: Depression – going into a despair and thinking that one’s own life is not important.

Stage 5: Acceptance – coming to realise nothing can change the situation and that life must move forward.

The model suggests that these grief stages are applicable in any situation where there is a loss, not just when losing a loved one. Further research has also been done to suggest there may even be a sixth stage of grief – meaning.

The Dual Process Method

Another popular grief model suggests everyone coping with grief switches between focusing on ‘loss’ and focusing on ‘restoration’.

Loss – the thoughts, feelings, actions and event that make you focus on your loss.

Restoration – distractions of daily life to break focus from your loss.

This model suggests that someone who is grieving will switch their focus back and forth, and that it is important for the person to experience both as a way to process the grief in a manageable way.

Growing Around Grief

Grief professional Lois Tonkin presents a radical idea that grief is not necessarily experienced in different stages or phases but, rather, individuals learn to grow around the grief. Instead of the grief fading over time, this theory suggests that grief starts as a great obstacle. But the grief stays the same size and intensity throughout, and it is the person grieving that grows and matures around the grief. further explains all of these (and other) grieving methods: