When we lose a loved one the pain can be unbearable and finding support in others can help us to move forward and heal. Friends and family rally round after a death, cooking for us, checking in and making sure we are ok. After a while though, some of us find we are being asked “Aren’t you over it yet?”, “You’re doing so well moving on”, “You seem to be back on track now”. But inside we are still hurting and put a brave face on, we feel we should be over it. This pressure we feel from others, and often ourselves, adds to our pain as we feel guilty for feeling low.
Everyone deals with loss in different ways. It depends on our own values and beliefs and the relationship we had with the person who has died. However, various models have emerged over the years to help us understand the emotions we go through when we feel loss. The Kubler-Ross model is a useful one which defines 5 stages. These stages don’t have to occur one after the other, we can move in and out of them and there is no defined timescale to work through them.
The model serves as a useful way to understand our emotions and to help us feel more normal as we work through the difficult reactions we experience. By understanding our own feelings, we can find hope in knowing that others experience a similar pattern when loss occurs. It provides a good framework to give ourselves time and space to allow the grieving process to happen naturally.