The five stages of grief, defined by Külber-Ross, are
- Denial - "this is not happening to me"
- Anger - "why me?"
- Bargaining - "just let me make it to see Christmas, just one more Christmas"
- Depression - "there is no hope, so what is the point in trying"
- Acceptance - "It ok, I am lucky that I was able to have this long"
These stages were originally designed for patients diagnosed with terminal illness; however they also apply to personal catastrophes (death of a loved one, loss of job, divorce, drug additions). There is no set a time frame to go through each stage. For some terminally ill patients they never move past denial while others are able to find the acceptance in their diagnosis. There are also the stages we as mourner go when we bury a loved one
If you or a loved one are dealing with a loss; a death, loss of a job, going through a divorce there are healthy ways of grieving. This list below gives you just a spring board upon which you can tailor your own course though your grief. Every one of us will grieve in different ways, so there is no one specific path to take. However, there is a wrong way of dealing with grief; you cannot hide from it, you cannot just wish it away, it has to be dealt with in some manner.
Healthy grieving suggestions
- Talk about it - with family, friends, with yourself.
- Keep busy - having something to do can help take your mind off the grief, but also know that you do need time to process and allow healing to take place.
- Take care of yourself - you are important, your life is valuable thus care for yourself. We can only give if we receive. Go get a massage, get your nails or hair done, go play golf, whatever nurtures you.
- Eat well - I know sugar and alcohol are tempting, but your body needs vitamins and minerals. Good nourishment is another way of taking care of yourself.
- Exercise regularly - exercise can help with depression, anxiety, fears and worries. Not to mention helping you sleep better.
- Get rid of imagined guilt - you did the best you could, you supported, love and took care of the person.
- Join a group to deal with your grief - you will need people in your life that have experienced a loss. This group will give you a place to share, to cry and to get support.
- Postpone major decisions - wait until you are more clearly thinking. If something has to be taken care of quickly ask for help. A fresh set of eyes might see something differently.
- Journal - journaling can help to release emotional issues, pain and is a way of recording your progress.
- Lean on your social or religious affiliations - ask for help and seek help when you need it. If you have been inactive in matters of faith, this might be a time to become involved again.
- Get professional help if needed - there might come a time when you cannot handle your grief on your own. There is no shame in getting help.
- Accept yourself and the grief you feel - you are not alone, you are loved, you have much support around you.
Paul may you find your wings to soar with the eagles, may you watch over us and may you be at peace. We miss you and love you.