Death of a loved one is the moststressful experience in life be it sudden or expected. After the initialnumbness which follows the loss people are overwhelmed by powerful and intenseemotions, and rapid mood change. It is important to realize that the recovery takes time, andthat people are eventually able to go on living. These are natural responseswhich help overcome the pain and deal with the feeling of bereavement. Mourninga loved one is a personal experience which sometimes can lasts for months oreven years, and which is sometimes accompanied by religious ceremoniesinvolving the participation of friends and family to honor the dead. Grief is aphysical or psychological expression of loss and it may be manifested throughcrying or depression.
People sometimes avoid thesubject of death though grief is something a person must go through and something that shouldn’tbe suppressed, because if the person is trying to escape these feelings for along time, they might emerge as physical or emotional illness after a while. Mourningpresents many challenges for human body, and the signs of acute grief mayinclude poor appetite, stomachache, sleep disorders and low energy. Generalhealth may deteriorate and new conditions may occur.
Death of child is particularlydifficult to deal with, since parents sometimes blame themselves for the tragicevent, feeling as they no longer have the reason to go on and being crushed bythe feeling of lost potential. Death of a spouse is both, an emotional shockand the cause for many social adjustments, especially if the spouse was theonly source of incomes in the family. Elderly are profoundly affected by spouse’sdeath, since this involves the loss of life-long shared experiences and isfollowed by major loneliness. Tragedy or a suicide poses a great challenge forthe survivors, and the feeling of loss is accompanied by anger, shame and guilt,and families often seek counseling to come to terms with this shatteringexperience.
To effectively cope with pain one should surround themselves with caring people either friends and relatives orjoin support groups to be able to talk about their feelings. Special attentionshould be paid to one’s health and not becoming dependent on addictivemedication or alcohol. People should allow themselves enough time to adjust tothe new situation, they should be patient and seek help whenever necessary. Whena close person is in grief, friends can share in their sorrow, listen and talkto them but avoid giving them false comfort; instead, practical help witheveryday life should be offered.
Children’s grief is differentfrom that of adults, since they are faced with feelings of insecurity, confusion,lack of understanding, and they ask inappropriate questions about the dead,invent games about death or pretend the event never took place. Parents shouldbe extra sensitive to grieving children, avoid anger and criticism, and instead,they should talk about their feelings and set an example with their ownbehavior. It is important for both children and adults to look to the future,keeping in mind that the pain will ease eventually and found memories of theirloved ones will prevail.