The trauma of such a loss can sometimes be overpowering when psychological obstacles develop and prevent the pained soul from accepting the loss with peace in mind.
Specialists in the field of psychology, term this phase as the “denial phase”, when the bereaved soul refuses to accept whatever has happened.
For example, a teenage daughter on losing her mother might start acting as if her mother is only normally asleep and might try to wake her up.
She might refuse to use the words “dead” or “gone” for her beloved mother. To help her overcome this phase, she must be taken to the grave proceedings to visualize the finality of death, which might reinforce the reality she was trying to elude.
But, most important of all, she must be allowed to take her own time to come to terms with the truth. Forcing matters on her, might worsen the situation.
This phase is often followed or coincided by the “anger phase”. At the sudden loss of a loved one, one tends to get angry at the situation, as one is then faced with a future one did not expect. This anger is generally directed towards destiny, the Almighty and who ever one thought did not do enough to save the life that has ended. When this anger is directed towards one’s own self, one often becomes depressed.
More so when the anger remains suppressed. It is very important at this stage to express the anger. Family and friends around should be sensitive and should try to discover if any frustration and anger has accumulated in the mind of the person at loss.
If they find trace of any such frustration, they should help at the anger getting expressed. They should keep vigil of the fact that the bereaved mind does not turn destructive in anger. The individual at loss should himself or herself try to get the anger out of his or her system by screaming, yelling or even cursing.
This phase is often coincided or followed by the ever-critical “depression phase”, when the bereaved mind is filled with a feeling of hopelessness as it is now when the individual first realizes that his or her loved one is never going to return.
Letting go often proves to be very depressing. Some people overcome depression fast, while there are some who take really long to do so. But an aggrieved soul may not necessarily mean a clinically depressed soul.
If only the grieving period seems to be a bit extended, accompanied by the refusal to accept support, loss of self-esteem and physical abnormalities, medical help should be sought. One should not shy off from seeking professional assistance.
In the depression phase, it is normal that one will feel like crying one’s heart out. One should not be ashamed of doing so. Tears are generally healers. But again, if this continues for months, medical assistance should be sought.
A journey, through all these phases, normally brings the aggrieved mind to the “acceptance phase”. Even as it continues to love and miss the deceased, new days bring newer meanings and it accepts death as an unavoidable truth.
It admits the fact that the loss was meant to be. Once the realization comes that “I am alive after all and I have to move on with life”, one tries and learns to live without the lost one.
Books, songs, movies and journeys, that shift one’s perspective from one’s own grief to the wider connotations of life, often assist in bringing about this acceptance phase without much difficulty.