The Stages of Grieving
Theories of Grief
Every time life takes us through some loss, the next thing we find ourselves doing is grieving. Gibson (2014) argued that grieving is an important thing and grieving losses led to a healthier life. Writing about grief, McDonald (1985) called it a healthy response to a lousy situation so grieving is a normal process and in it, a complex process that can impact every dimension of our lives ranging from behavioral, cognitive to the spiritual aspects of our lives. Funnel and Koutoukidis (2008) cite that, one should first accept the reality of the loss and then cope with any social and emotional effects that the loss may cause. This is despite the value that was placed on the individual that is lost. Some people refuse to accept the reality by either denying that the loss occurred or refusing to believe that death is real which further translates into one being stuck in the mourning process as Worden (2009) puts it. A number of theories to explain grief and bereavement exist. Among those are Freud theory of loss, Erich Lindemann’s crisis theory, Bowlby’s theory of attachment and Kubler-Ross and stages of grief. This paper will focus on Freud’s and the stages theories of grief and bereavement and relate them to C.S Lewis grieving experience.
According to Balk (2014), there are models of traditional bereavements by Albert Einstein and Sigmund Freud. Freud argues that grief is normal to humans being after having an irreplaceable loss especially after the death of someone we had deep emotional investment. While Freud argues that the griever needs to experience the pain that the loss brought by exposing himself to reminders that would trigger the memory of the deceased such as pictures and music, the contemporary psychology on the other hand consider those perseverating actions ruminating. The second task that Freud worked on was, detaching yourself from the dead. One should let go the emotional relationships that went otherwise reciprocated by the dead and lastly form a mental representation of the person that died. This allows you to think about the person without grief. Freud argues that this process is natural and that the process takes time. Though each one of us will have their unique style if dealing with grief and loss, one should be able to understand their attitudes, values, and reactions as Pomeroy and Garcia (2008) argued.
Humphrey & Zimpfer (2007) argued the Freud grieving theory of loss, grief, and resolution centered on acceptance and appreciation by the ego that the article had been lost, the energy that maintained the attachment had been taken and efforts to make new attachment required. The dead person was in a manner within the grieving person, as this happened, the bereaved in some way punished the dead.
Jack feels an urge to live alone and admits of his inability to talk to the kids about their mother. After some time the grievers adjust to the loss as they realise the importance of forgiving themselves. As Welshons (2003) puts it, each day we make decisions with the new realities easing the pain and confusion a little as the days go by, and eventually we appreciate that our live are fully enhanced. One may find themselves questioning their previous beliefs such as spiritual beliefs and may even resort to changing their lifestyles and introducing new traditions and customs. As Jack works through this, he gets to a level where he believes that he is in a safe place. According to Ameilda (2004), during the denial in the stages grieving theory one builds wall of false realism the person may swim back safely in an offer of keeping out the truth and scale totally forgetting the loss. This is particularly common with unpredicted and unprepared for losses. Attig (2000) calls it a period of realizing that things will never remain as they were. This prevents the griever from getting the magnitude of what happened at once. Normally, shock fades gradually before the person adjusts to the loss. The desire to manage the circumstances forces them to seek explanation as to why it happened and if it was preventable. Jack confesses that he is doubting God and almost concludes that there is no God because of the death of his wife. He however, admits that when he happily lived with his deceased wife, God was present in their marriage.
Worden (2009) some people avoid this stage by evading thoughts. The patient realizes that life cannot resume to normal and adjusts to the new circumstances. One may have reactions like anger; depression and panic and at times may feel very tired and may have trouble sleeping and being focused. Moreover, feelings of helplessness and depression are witnessed. These emotions may result in a feeling that a part of them is missing and everything is meaningless including partner, acquaintances, or even relations. Caretakers to this individual should make sure that they stay nonjudgmental. Jack perceives his grief as fear disturbing from within. He cannot do the simple things he used to do like shaving and reading. Worse still, he does not want people to talk to him though, he fears being left alone.
As one goes the bargaining, he/she may be found in a situation bargaining at the same time as Mitch and Brookside (2004) argued. In addition, the victim hopes that they will unlock or avoid the cause of grief. One may modify their way of life or still choose to concession. A long-term resolution may not arise in this stage. The sensitive feelings steadily go down as one gradually adjusts to normal life. This implies that one has adjusted to the loss and its consequences. Jack exposes that Helen had not had a happy life all through. Sometimes she had unhappy moments but he chose to remember the good moments they shared.
Walter, Edgar, and Rutledge (2002) noted that that at depression stage, one is left in quiet solitude and may withdraw from daily activities. Moreover, as one begins to comprehend the assurance of what took place, one realizes it is useless to live and stuff may lose importance and in some situation, the griever may decline to meet guests, be quiet or yet spend their time weeping hoping that they will disengage themselves from their appreciated ones and their warmth. Acceptance does not mean we are cured because the loss is always part of us, as Dr. Hibbert (2014) argues. On their part, Flasher and Flogle (2011) said that acceptance indicates that a change occurred and there is therefore a resignation of the loss. Towards the end, Jack is thinking about Helen without joy, sorrow, or love. He is no longer distressed which shows that he has overcome the grieving period.
Ordinarily, the whole mourning process is expected to take six to twelve months. However, with prolonged depression it may take longer. Caution should be taken to avoid being stuck in time that would result from grieving for longer than normal periods. In addition, with different researches conducted on the process of grieve and bereavement, different models have been developed and this has resulted to the contemporary theories of grieving some of which hold opposing views from the traditional theories.
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