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Aspects of Grief and Loss

Life events and realities are definite to come along the way of person’s existence and survival in this world. While it is human nature to anticipate for positive happenings and incidents, tragedies inevitably set in. These hardships affect people in two ways. First is that they may bring out the best in every people by triumphantly overcoming the hard times. But it is also undeniable that adverse scenarios are the ones which intensely affect people. This is because during such hardships that people’s senses, principles and beliefs are tested and unfortunately shattered.

Despite such conditions, however, it is still worthy to take into consideration that difficult times are not at their dead ends. In fact, it is typical to manifest off-putting reactions and feelings during adversities. This is because it is part of the process to experience and undergo several phases in order to fully understand and eventually realize the significance and essence of painful life events. Hence it is empirical to regard that tragedies call for expected implications which, in turn, necessitate the performance of appropriate resolutions.

Specific responses are expected from people who are beset with agonizing and upsetting situations. A clear identification of the stages and characteristics of ordeals are definitely essential. This is because such will pave the way for appropriate recognition and carrying out of the things which need to be done. In doing so, the objective of surviving a heartbreaking occasion is achievable. Most importantly, getting over such kind of incidents is not far behind. Only when a person has moved on that the meaning of the difficult yet triumphed over event will be ultimately realized. Grief and Loss, an Overview

In order to understand better the above-mentioned condition, its concrete application is valuable. In particular, what have been cited as the elements of difficult occurrences and their expected resolutions can be effectively manifested during time of loss. When one experiences the loss of a love one, pain unavoidably sets in. In fact, grief is supposed to be felt while in the course of unwanted incidents such as death. While grief may be attributed to several instances, it is death particularly the reality of having someone very close ceasing to exist which leaves people with enormous sadness and suffering.

This is also under the principle that the fact which lies beyond death, which is the loss of significant things and most-prized events, is likely to inflict painful emotional and even psychological reactions. This also brings people to a realization that whatever circumstances surround one’s demise, it is bound to happen. Relatively, however people try to accept the reality of death, grief and all its similar manifestations will continue to be felt. Thus to be able to address or even lighten up the situation, it will be helpful to regard things in practical perspectives.

That is, loss or death is imminent. Next is that grief subsequently happens. Most importantly, suffering needs to pass several features and stages in order to feel and recognize their impacts. In doing so, the eventual realization of the essence and relevance of having to loss a love one is finally achieved. In her “On Death and Dying” book, Kubler-Ross emphasized that an increasing anxiety is normal concerning the premise of one’s death or loss as in the case for those who were left behind (Kubler-Ross 9).

According to the author, people’s and the society’s view about dying or eventual death is that it is definitely a fearful and painful event. Kubler-Ross explained that in order to address and overcome the terror and grief relating to loss, humans have various ways to protect and defend themselves. These include some of the needed aspects that people have to undergo to be able to initially understand the loss and accept it in due course (Kubler-Ross 11). From death or loss comes up the idea of grief and eventually the experience of suffering.

DeBellis noted that of the two, pain is an objective response to loss. Since grief is a real occurrence after death, it prepares people to determine its foundation and to deal with it during the course of grieving (DeBellis 4). The author further stated that there are different degrees of grief. That is, pain may be stable or irregular while on the other hand, may undergo momentary or enduring implication (DeBellis 4). DeBellis added that suffering follows grief because it acts as the fortitude or signifies submission to the episode of pain (5).

This condition makes grief-induced suffering to be emotional or mental in nature instead of being a bodily manifestation (DeBellis 6). The author also revealed that there is an apparent in-depth links among grief, pain and suffering. This is because by nature, a person who experiences grief is able to decide on the degree of pain he or she has to feel and bear. This advantage, in turn, allows for that person to also determine the effects and ways to alleviate suffering (DeBellis 7). Additionally, Inman said that loss and grief as its subsequent impact are common encounters that people naturally and need to experience.

This also goes to say that the feelings and sentiments connected with the event of loosing a love one and grieving on such happening are common reactions that all human have to manage (Inman 1). Hence, the nature and consequences relating to loss and grief are of undeniable significance to one’s life. This is because from such factors that one’s ability to handle and overcome death and suffering, as its corresponding response, will be established (Inman 1). Aspects of Grief and Loss Since the most hurting event in human life is death or loss, one is prompted to be faced with grief.

In carrying out the occurrence of grief resulting from loss, a bereaved person is motivated to undergo some aspects. The grieving process is illustrated into five emotional stages and each has its distinct feature and manifestation (“5 Stages of Grief and Loss” 1). Kubler-Ross and Kessler, on the other hand, said that after the event of loss, one undergoes the five stages of grief. The two specifically identified the five aspects of loss and grief as “denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance” (Kubler-Ross & Kessler 7).

The two, however, clarified that the five features of loss and grief have changed and developed since their establishment. They have also noted that such stages have been misinterpreted since it was not the intention of these five aspects of grief to assist a person in putting his or her confused emotional responses into something of an orderly presentation (Kubler-Ross & Kessler 7). In fact, the said five stages are people’s natural responses to death. But the truth is that there is no standard reaction to loss considering that loss is not predictable in the first place.

This premise implies the principle that one’s grief is as personalized and particular to every individual (Kubler-Ross & Kessler 7). On their book “On Grief and Grieving: Finding the Meaning of Grief Through the Five Stages of Loss,” the two added that the five identified aspects are all components of the structure that enables one to cope the loss of a love one and continue with his or her life. Such stages also function as tools which will assist the bereaved person outlines and recognizes the emotions to be manifested and things to be done (Kubler-Ross & Kessler 7).

However, this system does not similarly works with people of various personalities and perspectives. While they are considered as the standard reactions, the five aspects of loss and grief vary since every person has his or her respective process. Hence Kubler-Ross and Kessler stated that they just aim that with the identification and performance of the five stages, an individual becomes aware of the terrain of loss, pain and suffering. This is because such knowledge prepares more a person to handle and eventually survive the event of death (Kubler-Ross & Kessler 7). Denial: There is no truth to the occurrence of loss!

Prior to discussing denial as the first aspect or stage resulting from the event of death, it worthy to note that it is a reaction already depicted even before the actual occurrence of loss. According to Kubler-Ross, denial exists as a dying person thinks that he or she will not die and that death will not happen. In the course of denying a looming death, the dying person looks for options which are supposed to prevent death from taking place. The author added that denial is not an outright reaction of a dying person but it starts in a subtle way then progresses as the person refutes the coming of death (Kubler-Ross 33).

When death occurs, denial acts as a shock absorber resulting from its sudden and dreadful information. Such buffering then enables a person to gather his or her senses in order to think and do other essential defense mechanisms. Kubler-Ross, however, asserted that denial is normally a momentary protection as partial recognition of death sets in. Thereafter, denial is sustained and in some instance, occurs until the eventuality of death (Kubler-Ross 34). Another way to look at and consider denial is that it is typically a person’s initial response to the death of loved one.

There are various reasons behind denial such as the refusal of the acceptance of certain term or calling like the word gone. In doing so, a person who is on denial, resorts to several imaginary forms of conversation in order to avoid the actual happening of loss (“5 Stages of Grief and Loss” 1). In her own interpretation, Inman said that denial is the first part where a person shows surprise and is skeptic about the death. It is in this aspect that people normally find it too difficult to consider and accept that the loss has occurred.

People then are inclined to attempt and even rationalize their manifestation of denial. Inman cited the particular case of a dying patient who denies the existence of a fatal illness that continued dispute concerning the x-ray results is carried out. This incident continues as the patient argues that the finding was incorrect and the x-rays belong to another patient (Inman 2). In refuting death, relatives do extreme and even weird conducts such as incidents when those who were left behind earnestly try to hold on to their deceased person.

Inman added that while denial can also be attributed to other events such as loss of employment and break-up with a romantic partner, it is death which significantly paves the way for its concrete manifestation. The author said that normal denial statements include “this cannot be happening,” or “I cannot believe that this is happening to me” (Inman 2). Of all the said references to denial, it is the one coming from Kubler-Ross and Kessler, who both clearly and effectively explained the nature and attributes of denial, which poses immense significance.

Kubler-Ross and Kessler wrote that grief-motivated denial has been misunderstood over the years. This is because there is a clear difference between the denial being manifested by a dying person and the denial being shown by those who have lost their loved one (Kubler-Ross & Kessler 8). Kubler-Ross and Kessler added that for dying persons, denial appears to be disbelief. This is because they continue with their lives completely denying the existence of a fatal illness. This is different for someone whose love one dies as the denial is more abstract than truthful (Kubler-Ross & Kessler 8).

The two authors, however, clarified that a symbolic type of denial does not make one literally unaware of the loss of a loved one. When put in a concrete scenario, such denial is manifested by a person who comes home and unable to consider that a family member or relative is already dead but is only somewhere or away. This denial also makes those who were left behind incapable to figure out that the deceased person will definitely not come back in this world (Kubler-Ross & Kessler 8). In their “On Grief and Grieving” book, the two further said that denial is likewise physically manifested.

They explained that when people are in denial, their bodies initially react by being paralyzed with surprise or even covered with numbness or lack of sensation. In fact, the denial is not the exact denial of the death itself although a person may say that he or she could not accept death as true occurrence. This is because that person is just making such comment since the death is beyond his or her consciousness (Kubler-Ross & Kessler 8). Denial as the initial aspect of loss and grieving assists a person to survive the eventuality of death.

It is in this phase that the world seems to be worthless and devastating. Since life appears to makes no sense, those who were left behind manifest a state of shock and lack of feeling. The direction and purpose of life also go astray and one tries very hard just to be able to survive life on a daily basis (Kubler-Ross & Kessler 10). Beyond such features, denial may be viewed in a positive way. One is that such refusal of the eventuality of death allows a person to manage and possibly survive. This is because denial assists people to rush the emotions of pain.

Denial is a form of blessing in disguise since it is the natural way of allowing grief to sets in but only in a level than one is able to deal with (Kubler-Ross & Kessler 10). All the mentioned emotions and responses relating to denial are relevant because they are the defensive mechanisms that protect one’s consciousness. It is emotionally and psychologically overwhelming when all the feelings are allowed to set in. Hence it is just but practical not to believe that death occurs or simply deny when loss of love one happens.

This is because humans truly cannot think the existence or eventuality of loss. To completely believe and accept death during this first aspect is indeed more than what a person can handle thus the need to undergo denial (Kubler-Ross & Kessler 10). Anger: Who is at fault for this Occurrence? This second aspect of grief is regarded to be the foundation of the majority of pain resulting from death. Manifestation of rage leads to profound and even lasting wounds which are entirely uncalled for in the first place. This is the moment when one blames a specific person and circumstance that caused death.

This also paves the way for a feeling that one is intentionally harmed hence the fault-finding and even formal grievance complaint is carried out (“5 Stages of Grief and Loss” 1). For her part, Inman said that anger is subsequently exemplified after a person gets over the denial of occurrence of loss. Anger is simply put as the battle against the reality of loss or death of a love one. Manifestations of anger are particularly proven by instances wherein a person blames and even inflicts physical harm to a person who is perceived to have caused the death or even to someone who just relayed the event (Inman 2).

Inman added that it is human nature and tendency to create unjustified blame to others when grieving for loosing someone very close. Since blame is typical in the anger aspect, the real cause or circumstance of the event of death is sometimes neglected. In doing so, unresolved or new concerns arise which rationalize the passing of fault to others (Inman 2). The anger aspect is signified in a number of ways. These include ire against the deceased person for ignoring a lingering sickness and for not exerting efforts to remedy the health condition.

Anger-motivated blame is then transferred to oneself, this time for the inability to take care of the person who died. This condition makes anger not to be rational or justifiable. This is because one becomes angry for not recognizing the coming of death. However, in the condition that one sees the eventuality of death but unfortunately it cannot be stopped as well, then anger also is depicted (Kubler-Ross & Kessler 11). Other illustrations of anger are placed at the lost opportunity when the dying person and his or her family should have spent more time together before death arrives.

Even the acceptance of the loss can ignite anger as the idea of survival is unwarranted during the course of grieving. Relatively, as emotions related to sorrow, fear, pain and isolation intensify, anger is equally strengthens (Kubler-Ross & Kessler 12). After blaming others now comes placing the burden on oneself. In short, after blaming others, the one left behind now turns in blaming himself or herself. Aside from the incapability-motivated anger, a person’s rage stems from his or her direct involvement with a surprising, unwarranted and unwanted events such as death and grief (Kubler-Ross & Kessler 12).

Despite the said considerations, it is worthy to note that anger is the stage where a person is most used to coping with. Anger forms part of the emotional management of loss and grief especially when it is manifested for a limited and not lasting duration. In fact, anger is regarded as a helpful and practical emotional reaction particularly if one is able to overcome it. While anger does not totally leaves the process of grieving as several levels of anger are still observed with a grieving person, it is expected to be eventually reduced (Kubler-Ross & Kessler 12).

Bargaining: Do not allow this to occur and in exchange, I will… In discussing this third aspect called bargaining, Kubler-Ross revealed that such condition is the way used by a person to try to remove the grief and related emotional responses resulting from death. In doing so, one negotiates in order to arrive at a good deal of managing the loss of a love one. The author said that in an attempt to take away the suffering caused by death, a person opts to bargain with a flimsy effort to prevent death or shy away from the reality of losing someone (Kubler-Ross 82).

Kubler-Ross noted that a person bargains the situation specifically with God whom he or she thinks has the ultimate power over anyone and anything in this world. Since it is only the Creator who people regard as the solution to any problem, they aspire that bargaining something with Him will somehow change the course or eventuality of imminent death. This aspect of having a deal in exchange for the prevention of loss is specifically carried out as one regards God as the only one who can alter the turn of events and even the prevention of death (Kubler-Ross 82).

The author offered the public with specific negotiating statement such as “If I promise to never ask for anything again, will You reverse what happened? ” (Kubler-Ross 82). For someone who is about to loose a love one or even who has already experienced such, there is still a last ditch effort to change its occurrence. Adhering to human’s preference of Godly manifestations; an individual does not totally loose hope and lift up everything to the power of prayer and most importantly with entering into a deal with God (Kubler-Ross 82).

Inman supported this premise by saying that it is definitely natural for people to cling to God during troubled times. This is under the fundamental belief that when they bargain something to God, there is still a chance for death not to occur. While this aspect is insignificantly proven to happen or materialize, it is still natural for people to include bargaining in their process of managing loss and grief (Inman 3). Another way to look at this stage of bargaining is the condition that people stop at denying the loss as well as being angry and putting blame on others hence settles with an agreement with God.

This may also be under the realization that it is improper to bring the pain and anger of death to God but instead work on having in reconsidered through a bargaining (Inman 3). Inman also said that the promises offered during the bargain may be considered as sincere statements coming from people who are bent at preventing the eventuality of death. This is because of the fact that they are entering a deal with God and the return that they are expecting is of great importance. This condition is particularly proven in case of patients with terminal illness who themselves bargain something in exchange of their recovery (Inman 3).

If in the aspect of anger, people manifest their frustration even to God, during the bargaining stage they perceive that angrily blaming others does not work. Thereafter, they go to God in a nice way with a hope that things will be changed if they offer something in return or that the deal will return what is lost. Those who are in bargaining situation say that “It didn’t work being angry, so maybe if I ask nicely, God will reverse what happened” (Kubler-Ross 82). Depression: This occurrence makes me miserable!

Considered as the mother of all forms of misery and the most harmful aspect of loss and grief, depression makes one susceptible to more risks (“5 Stages of Grief and Loss” 2). This is because it in this stage that people, who suffered loss and in the whole process of grieving, are prone to feel intensified sadness and frustration. Depression is depicted with one’s unwillingness to care or even be concern about everything. During worst times, a depressed person needs to be handled by support, psychological rehabilitation and medications (Kubler-Ross & Kessler 24).

It is also regarded the aspect of depression as the most significant of the stages of loss and grief. This is because it is this phase when one’s depression is entangled with other aspects making such more damaging to a person (Kubler-Ross 85). In supporting this idea, Inman added that the aspects of depression is likely to “make or break” a person. This is due to the fact that such condition may lead someone to do more horrible things. Heartbreaking event such as death definitely makes one to be distressed and even hopeless especially if not addressed and given appropriate management (Inman 3).

By far, depression is the most difficult aspect to overcome since it serves as an extension of the other stages. Not only is depression is depicted emotionally and mentally but most notably is its physical effects to a person. This is the time when people suffer from several bodily and psychological conditions such as the loss of appetite, insomnia and complete loss of interest in the things around them (Inman 3). Acceptance: I can peacefully understand such occurrence. This last aspect of grief signals that the previous stages have diminishes and that their effects to people have also reduces.

The acceptance of the finality of an event such as death allows a person to realize what he or she has done during the initial stages. While forgetting the loss of a love one is impossible, acceptance enables one to move on and continue living for the rest of his life (Inman 4). A significant consideration of the aspect of acceptance is the acknowledgement of lessons learned from the occurrence of death. In effect, people who have come to realize and accept that their love ones will indeed never return, will be provided with opportunities to carry on with their lives.

Additionally, acceptance paves the way for one’s opportunity to even be of help with others who are still in the middle of the grieving process. Finally understanding that living in the comfort zone of someone who is already dead is both not healthy and practical. In fact, they will still be able to perform on their own. Ultimately, acceptance finally makes one realize that the deceased will be forever in one’s memories. Treasuring the good times, leaving the grief behind and accepting the need to go on living are the most relevant factors which this aspect provides (Inman 4). Conclusion

Grief resulting from death is truly a painful situation. The grieving process varies per person but the five aspects are valuable stages to be experienced for one to achieve eventual healing. While the said phases are normal reactions to loss, it is still important that each feature is carefully handled. Undergoing the five aspects is relevant in analyzing the potentialities of a person in dealing with someone’s death. Lastly, it is through the five aspects that one realizes the beauty of continue living in this world despite loosing a love one. Works Cited DeBellis, Robert. Suffering: Psychological and Social Aspects in Loss, Grief and Care.

Pennsylvania: Haworth Press, 1986. “5 Stages of Grief and Loss. ” Way2Hope. n. d. 25 February 2009 <http://www. way2hope. org/5_stages_of_grief_and_loss. htm>. Inman, Amanda. “The Stages of Grief and Loss. ” 1 May 2008. Associated Content. 24 February 2009 <http://www. associatedcontent. com/article/740187/the_stages_of_grief_and_loss. html? cat=5>. Kubler-Ross, Elisabeth. On Death and Dying. Great Britain: Routledge, 1973. Kubler-Ross, Elisabeth and David Kessler. On Grief and Grieving: Finding the Meaning of Grief Through the Five Stages of Loss. New York, NY: Scribner, 2005.

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