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How You Grieve Can Not Be Predicted Nor How Long

How you grieve can not be predicted nor how long.  Also it can not be avoided or it will cause irrevocable damage.  Grief over the loss of a child can cause relationships to fail especially when  communication shuts down.  Grief can’t be easily avoided or ignored.  A person can grieve for any loss or impending loss such as the loss of a job, having a child leave home, etc.

The longest I grieved was five years (and it’s really not over yet.) and the deaths were unexpected and tragic.  I never have forgotten my dear, dear, friend (who was like a sister to me) who was pregnant and her toddler daughter who died on the way home for my friend and her husband to tell both sets of grandparents she was expecting.  Shock is hardly the word for how I reacted.  They have always been in my heart and mind and I marked the occasion for several years on my friend’s birthday.rp_3704705698_7d71898ce1_m.jpg

There are several stages of grief and a person does not go through them in any particular order.  This statement was made by Dr. Elisabeth-Kubler Ross herself at a workshop I attended.  Different sources on the internet say different.  They say that people progress through these stages in a particular order.  Actually a person can bounce back and forth between them.  A person may think that they have completed a certain stage and then he or she goes back through one of them again.

The stages are:  denial,  bargaining, anger, depression, and acceptance.  Denial is not being able to accept the the loss has happened or that the impending loss will occur.  Such as “No, no, he or she can’t be dead” or not accepting a diagnosis of terminal illness.  Pretending that a spouse who leaves is not gone for good and is going to come back when he or she returns to their right mind are other ways that a person can deny that a loss has or will occur.  Bargaining  is making a deal with God or other sources of power that the person will not die or some loss will not occur if the person who is doing the bargaining does some particular thing.   A person can be angry at the person or situation that caused the loss or at the deceased for leaving them alone.  Depression occurs when the person   realizes that the loss is permanent and the person left behind doesn’t know how they can be able to stand it.   Realizing that life will go on after the loss or that no matter what a person does the loss has or will occur is part of acceptance.

What is dangerous is that people who are grieving will isolate themselves and not encourage anyone to console them.  People in different stages of grieve often clash and harm rather than help each other.  People who grieve can project their anger on to others and even go so far as to seek revenge.  Many people who grieve feel helpless and unable to cope.  They can even become irrational and impossible to reason with.   Many deaths are just senseless and can’t be rationalized in any way.  For example, a random killing by a person bent on killing someone and doesn’t care who it is or a death or deaths from an auto accident killing whoever happened to be there at that place and time such as in my girlfriend’s case..

For example, years after my father died I got to see his death certificate and found that he died from multiple bed sores which was probably the fault of the nursing home.  My father had dementia and was irrational and unreasonable at times.  He remained a strong man and my mother could not handle him.  We grown children all lived away from home and she relied on neighbors and other family members to help her with him when he became aggressive.  For over a year after my father’s death, she couldn’t be reasoned with because she continued to constantly blame herself for putting him in the nursing home.   We all thought that she should have given up taking care of him by herself years earlier.  Now I know why she wouldn’t listen to us when we tried to talk to her.

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