Dealing with the loss of a loved one is a difficult time.
On the one hand, there are mixed emotions, the body somatizes them and on the other hand, there is the grief and the elaboration.
What can happen in the first period?
Experts say that firstly we must separate the loss from the mourning process.
In the loss, the emotional part is completely upset.
There are mixed feelings related to loss, abandonment, emptiness, pain, anger, guilt, regret. Some seem to flare up and break in, but in the short term, they leave us. Others, instead, seem to take root and persist for a long term.
In addition to this, the loss of a loved one can awaken that sense of abandonment tied to an unresolved episode of the past and be bound to this moment.
What could happen afterwards?
Instead, mourning is a post-loss phase. Realizing a loss means recognizing that person is no longer there and implementing new behavioural patterns in everyday life.
According to psychologists, the elaboration of a loss, in most cases (each of us experiences pain in a personal way), takes place in five phases.
Denial phase. It’s the phase in which we avoid and deny the loss, as if we don’t realize it. At this stage, we start to think about what happened and feel like being in a dream and sooner or later we will wake up. This mechanism protects us from feeling emotions that, at that moment, are intolerable. Initially this mechanism is functional and helps us to “take time” for organizing ourselves but in the long run, if it does not evolve into more mature mechanisms, the denial of reality can take on pathological connotations and require professional intervention.
Anger phase. In this phase those intense and difficult emotions that we avoided in the previous phase begin to manifest themselves. The stage of anger is the phase in which we think that what has happened to us is unfair and wrong, we get angry with those who “allowed” the death of our loved one (in some cases doctors, health, relatives) and we start to meditate vengeance. The grieving process is a critical phase. It is the maximum help request moment but at the same time (not always) the patient is sufficiently ready to accept the help. Often the emotions of anger and a condition of closure prevail over the possibility of resolution.
Bargaining phase. It is the phase in which we take back our lives and “negotiate” with ourselves and with others. It is the phase in which anger begins to go down and depressive emotions mixed with small moments of hope for the future come into consciousness.
Depressive phase. It represents the moment of authentic awareness of the loss, the moment in which we remember the beautiful things lived with the loved one and the desperation for all we couldn’t live again becomes palpable. We realize how many things about us have been “shaped” by those who no longer exist and the thought of loss makes us feel defeated and desperate.
Acceptance phase. The acceptance phase comes when we can give a sense to what happened, to inscribe the loss in the natural order of things, to retain and remember how much good happened. During this phase, anger and depression could be present, but at moderate intensity.
Everything is okay.
What reported is just a behavioural pattern, don’t be afraid of it!
Pain is not pathological as long as you deal with it.
If there are problems in overcoming it or allowing yourself to be crossed by it, it is better to see a specialist who will be able to give the right advice.
“You can’t stop the waves but you can learn to ride them.” Joseph Goldenstein <