It is often said that the most certain thing and yet the most forgotten thing is death. In our heart, we are all aware that one day we and everyone around us will die. However, even this certainty is not enough to prepare for one for the massive emotional devastation that occurs due to the death of a loved one. The impact is even more severe, when this happens at an old age, and we are left wandering the streets of a new world, all alone.

In the next  post, we will talk about a few ways in which we can all help our elderly friends in coping with such a loss. This post is about the various stages of grief a person will undergo as they try to deal with this loss.

The loss of a child or a spouse is the especially devastating. Having invested an entire life in building a relationship, or in case of a child bringing them up, their sudden departure can be almost life threatening. The world suddenly starts holding less meaning and this effect alone can be paralysing.

Everyone experiences a wide range of emotions when a death occurs, the five stages of grief area well known psychological phenomena, and usually everyone goes through them. They are:

  • Denial: A refusal to accept that anything has changed
  • Anger: As the pain starts to become more real, a person directs their anger towards the situation. However, unable to do anything about it, they channelize it towards anyone and everyone
  • Bargaining: At this stage, a person realises their helplessness at the situation and starts bargaining with God for a resolution of the situation
  • Depression: Sadness, regret, guilt, humiliation and any other emotion that disconnects a person from the world manifests themselves in this stage. The person blames themselves for everything that is happening and starts moving away from the world. This is a stage in which a lot of people get stuck
  • Acceptance: Very few people get the gift of reaching this stage, however, those who do, are able to truly get on with their lives. This is not a state of happiness, but a complete realisation of the situation and acceptance in its entirety

Coping with loss is a deeply personal and singular experience — nobody can help anyone go through it more easily or understand all the emotions that one goes through. However, others can be there for support and provide comfort through this process. The best thing one can do, is to allow themselves to feel the grief as it comes. Resisting it only will prolong the natural process of healing.

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