Grief over the loss of a loved one can take many different forms. Individuals and cultures across the world express grief in different, equally natural ways. Almost universally, families hold meaningful funeral services to honor their loved ones and confront their own grief.
The loss of a loved one can evoke many different emotions beyond sadness and sorrow. Someone who is grieving may feel anxiety, fear, anger, or confusion. They may find it difficult to concentrate, sleep, or eat, while others may simply feel numb.
Grief is often thought of as a process that happens in stages:
- Shock, Denial, and Disbelief
A powerful loss comes as such a shock that it can impossible to understand or accept.
As a symptom of pain, anger is a natural part of the healing process.
In a desperate attempt to regain a lost life, some may make deals with oneself, possibly in a religious setting.
- Depression or Sadness
Sorrow peaks when the full brunt of reality sets in. Like anger, this is a natural and normal stage, and should not be pushed away.
This stage is about finding a balance, not necessarily about regaining joy from everyday life. The pain of losing a loved one never entirely disappears, but rather, over time, settles into a permanent reality that can be understood.
These stages can be useful to understand why you or someone in mourning feels a certain way. However, some people challenge this theory of stages. The day-to-day experience of grief often feels more like emotional waves that are triggered by a memory or connection to the person who passed away. In this way, grief can suddenly and unexpectedly become more intense.
If someone close to you is grieving, there are a few ways you can help. First and foremost, let them know you are there for them. Offer to help with chores, grocery shopping, or other errands. It may also be helpful to suggest resources for grief support.
At Chapel of the Chimes Hayward, we understand that grief can take many different forms, and we can recommend beneficial support groups. If you have questions about our funeral services, estate planning, or recommended support groups, then please contact us by calling (510) 471-3363.