People grieve differently

Experience grief, cope with grief

Life and death are inextricably linked. We are aware of this fact, yet death is suppressed whenever possible. At some point, however, we all have to say goodbye to someone we love. We have to live with death and grief.

The wife who loses the battle against cancer; the best friend who dies in a car accident; your own child who is snatched from you by an accident; the husband, whose heart just stops beating - dying, death and mourning come across in many different ways.

All people are aware that the life of a loved one and also their own existence will one day come to an end, but death is no different from other unpleasant situations - it is suppressed whenever possible. In contrast to previous centuries and how death is dealt with in other cultures, death in Western society is not part of our everyday life. Although most people want to die at home, the vast majority die in old people's and nursing homes, in hospitals and dying hospices.

If you lose a loved one, there is hardly anything that can comfort us for the loss. It is true that the death of a relative or a friend or a friend, who is relieved of their suffering after a long illness, can also be a relief. Nevertheless, in this case too, grief is a constant companion. You have to live with this grief from now on, but you also have to cope with the loss in order to be able to realign your life.

The grief usually runs in several phases. Professor Verena Kast, President of the C.G. Jung Institute in Küsnacht, distinguishes four phases of mourning. The theories about the mourning process are based on the five phases of dying described by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross in 1969.

After a period of darkness, most of the mourners see a light on the horizon again. (Photo: Unsplash)

The first phase denotes the time of Not wanting to be true, the denial of what happened. The bereaved are in shock and cannot accept what really happened. Real grief is not felt yet. This phase can last from a few days to weeks and becomes longer the more unexpected the death of a loved one was.

In a next phase you can Get emotions out of hand. Grief arises, but there may also be anger, aggression, fear, jealousy, restlessness and despair. The intensity of these feelings depends entirely on how the relationship between the bereaved and the deceased was.

The third phase begins Process of detachment. Although the deceased is still present everywhere in everyday life, the mourners learn through the confrontation with reality that this loved one is no longer there. At best, the deceased becomes an inner companion with whom one can develop a relationship through an inner dialogue. The grief and strife with fate slowly subside.

In a fourth phase, the mourners finally find their way back to life step by step. You accept the death of your close relative and can enjoy smaller things again. Lifestyles that previously only existed in a relationship can now, at least in part, be imagined as part of one's own life.

These phases and processes need their time. You have to face grief and experience it consciously. Ultimately, however, the mourning process does not follow a pattern. Everyone deals with grief differently, everyone says goodbye differently and not every family member suffers equally from the loss. Some suffer extremely, withdraw and can get out of the Negative spiral hardly free. Mourners often need professional help or assistance support from family and friends, others find their way through this dark time alone.

The mourning process of everyone is very individual. It is important that Grief work to actively tackle. The systematic theologian Yorick Spiegel names various tasks that the mourner has to solve:

  • Triggering the grief
  • structuring
  • Recognition of reality
  • Decision to live
  • Expression of unacceptable feelings and desires
  • Evaluation of the loss
  • Incorporation of the deceased
  • Opportunity for reorientation

Everyday actions can help process the death of a loved one better:

  • keep in touch with friends and acquaintances
  • Accept assistance
  • Talking about your feelings, be it in private or in a circle with other people affected
  • try to express pain and feelings in a different way (diary, painting or drawing and much more)
  • Consciously experience grief and not allow yourself to be put under pressure from outside
  • Do not suppress feelings (positive or negative)
  • deal with something that has always been dear to you
  • Don't neglect your own health, eat healthily, get fresh air, sun and light
  • nature helps heal (walks in the woods, on the beach, exposed to the weather)

 «Death is not a misfortune for those who die, but for those who survive.»(Quote from Karl Marx)

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