Working Through Grief
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...........To Life After A Death
Research over many years by Dr William Worden and others has shown the importance of helping the bereaved to work through their grief to cope with life after a death. This is based on the grief work to be done at each stage.
Stage 1: DENIAL: A sense of shock, numbness & unreality
I don't believe it; there must be some mistake; it's all a blur. The need here is for practical help with funeral arrangements and emotional support for the bereaved person to begin to accept the reality of the death.
Stage 2: REALITY BEGINS TO DAWN & EMOTIONS START FLOODING OVER:
Suddenly the feelings start flooding over me: anger; deep, deep waves of sorrow; worries about money and whether I will be able to cope; depression; "if only....."; sometimes mixed feelings about the person who has died, leading to feelings of guilt; helplessness; despair; at times I feel as if I'm going crazy. Friends and family need to be willing to let the person express their emotions and not tell the person it's time s/he pulled himself/herself together.
Stage 3: ACCEPTING THE REALITY OF THE LOSS
Gradually the truth sinks in - s/he is not coming back; I need to accept that and begin to get my life back into some sort of routine. This is a time for friends and family to gently help the person to find ways in which to reconnect with the world around him/her. It may help to look at photographs and reminisce about happy times in the past, although for some this will be too painful or inappropriate.
Stage 4: MOVING ON & MOVING OUT
This is when I can begin to move on, enjoying old friendships and exploring the possibility of new relationships, whilst treasuring the memory of the person who has died. Friends, family and work colleagues can provide an environment for re-engaging with the world and realising there is life after a death.
This pattern is to be seen across cultural and social groups, irrespective of their religious beliefs. So it is normal for us as Christians to find ourselves going through a similar process.