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  • Writer's pictureLisa Jones

Loss and the grieving process

The Process of Loss

The stages we go through when we lose a loved one are painful and complicated. We can find ourselves stuck in stages and reaching acceptance of the loss can seem an impossible task. These stages are the same when we experience any type of loss and the emotions are surprisingly similar.

Think about a trivial situation as an example. Have you ever ruined a favourite garment in the washing machine? We may move through and round the stages faster but the stages will be the same.

  • Shock and Denial - First, you can’t believe you did that – is it really ruined?

  • Anger - You feel angry, “I’m so annoyed with myself for doing that – I wanted to wear it tonight!”.

  • Depression and Detachment - You feel low about it, depending on your mood you may even cry a little.

  • Dialogue and Bargaining - You try to adjust to the new reality, you might call a friend “That darn washing machine, I’ve been meaning to get it fixed for ages”, “I just wasn’t thinking, I should have got it dry cleaned”.

  • Acceptance - You start to work out what else to wear or how to make something out of the remaining fabric, you miss that garment and have some good memories of wearing it in the past!

You may experience the stage in one day or even in one hour. They can fly by and only when you look back can you see how you felt.

If you recognise these stages you will realise that there may be additional losses other than bereavement that you are experiencing. Loss of a relationship, loss of mobility after an illness or accident, loss of money, loss of a child after they leave for college or university, loss of a job, loss of your home – the list goes on.

These are human emotions and we need to allow ourselves to experience them. It can help you get your feelings in perspective and realise that these feelings are normal – you are not overreacting. This knowledge might also help you support a friend who is going through any type of loss.

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