Until Again, Old Friend
Death is foreign concept. People are constantly dying, yet the human race has no clue what is next. As ironic as that sounds, death is something we cannot seem to understand. The only thing we can conclude is that while our bodies are not immortal, our souls certainly are. Up until recently, I have never lost someone whose death would cause a persistent grieving process.
When we die, our bodies are no longer with those on earth. Our bodies swell up and go through chemical processes that leave us no longer recognizable. The loved ones left behind are faced with the decision of what to do with the body. There are many ways to dispose of the human corpse, the most popular being ground burial, cremation, and immurement. Along with that decision comes something that is exceptionally difficult to overcome, the grieving process.
According to many sources, there are seven stages that one goes through when they are grieving.
1. Shock: Hearing the news of someone dying never fails to leave one speechless. They do not know what to say or how to act as the news catches them off guard.
2. Denial: It is very common for people to avoid the death as a whole and how it made them feel. It is much easier to avoid those feelings then face them head on.
3. Anger: After avoiding the grief, it is normal to feel anger and attempt to place the blame on themselves or the situation.
4. Bargaining: One might constantly think back and try to figure out what went wrong. They might imagine a scenario where they did something differently and the lost loved one would still be alive.
5. Depression: After realizing that they cannot bring back the deceased, they start to feel down. One might start to feel an overwhelming sense of sadness.
6. Testing: As the second-to-last stage, this is the stage where one might figure out methods on how to deal with the grief. They are looking for ways to take the pain away from the situation.
7. Acceptance: Even though the death is accepted, that does not necessarily mean the pain is gone. The pain is still there, but the grieving process is now much healthier and beneficial.
Once you have gone through the last stage of grief, you should feel at peace from the initial raging emotions. It is okay to mourn over the death of a loved one, and sometimes you might not even be “over it”, but there are ways to overcome that grief and make the process much easier to handle.
The hardest part about death is the grieving process. It takes a lot for one to realize that the deceased is no longer here; they cannot be seen, heard, touched, or smelled and we are simply left with the memory of them. 2020 has definitely been a year full of grief as being in the middle of a pandemic with a deadly virus has made death a fairly familiar concept to a lot of people. It is not just people from our personal lives either, this year we have lost so many talented celebrities who we have looked up to. You do not have to know someone personally to feel sorrow over their passing. A celebrity who I have deeply admired passed away this year and I did not know how to deal with it. The seven stages of grief were present over the course of time, and while I am not completely over it, I am able to reflect on the emotions of grief without being overwhelmed.
While celebrity deaths are hard to deal with, the passing of those close to you can be even harder. In one second, you could go from seeing someone and being able to talk to them every day to being forced to see them only in memory. Nobody is prepared for the day where they lose a loved one and they are forced to deal with the grieving process. Thinking about the death of a loved one always evokes such strong emotions to the point where the topic itself is avoided constantly. It is essential to know that whatever feelings are induced during the process of grief is normal and validated.
I have personally never experienced the process of grief until an admirable celebrity and an old friend of mine passed away this year. Their deaths had thrown me in for such a loop, since death had been a foreign concept to me until then. Undoubtedly there were tears after hearing the news of their demise, but what made it harder was the fact that I did not know how to deal with the pain. The easiest solution is to imagine that they are in Heaven and they are looking down onto their friends and family.
People do not react to death the same. Everybody will have a different reaction to the overwhelming emotions that take over. However, there are ways to deal with those emotions; you do not have to grieve forever. In the list below, based on personal experience and advice. I have added ways you can deal with anguish:
· Think positively about the afterlife they are in (there are different views on the afterlife for different religions, so whatever you may believe in, think positive)
· Talk to someone about the emotions you are feeling
· Face your grief directly
· Acknowledge the pain and know your emotions are validated
· Know the pain will not last forever
· Do not be hard on yourself/do not blame yourself
These may not seem like much, but if executed properly the grieving process can be shortened and/or easier to go through. Currently, the grief from those deaths are still apparent, however the coping is much easier through self-support.
If there is one lesson that we should take from life, it is that the melancholy of death does not last forever. Death is inevitable and we must find a way to deal with the pain of losing those around us. It is acceptable to feel many strong emotions along with the passing of one. However, there are too many resources for one to feel as though they have to grieve forever. So please, if you are currently dealing with grief, follow the advice presented in this article and if those do not work, find something that makes the grieving process more tolerable. Death does not have to be a sad subject; it can be filled with a lot of good memories as well.
If the advice given in this article are not helpful, there are plenty of sources to help you deal with the process:
· Opentohope.com – This website includes podcasts, articles, books, and many more resources to help cope with death
· Childrengrieve.org – Designed specifically for children, this site can help tackle the tough issue of children having to deal with grief as well
· Gratefulness.org – While this may not give advice on how to directly deal with grief, you can dedicate a candle for someone and write out how you feel about them
· Griefanonymous.com – If you want to speak with other people dealing with grief, but anonymously, this website allows you to do so