Any person who has lost a loved one can tell you that grief comes with a tangled mess of emotions. Mosaic Funeral Group has unpacked the emotions that most people will experience along their journey to help people understand what they are experiencing with the hope that this will help them start to heal. Mosaic Funeral Group is also bringing people together online to share their stories and find comfort with their #GrievingAloneTogether campaign.
Grief can come in many different forms and most people are well acquainted with the traditional five stages of grief – denial, bargaining, anger, depression, and acceptance. The problem with trying to choreograph your grief according to these steps, says Ronnie Collins, Mosaic Funeral Group spokesperson, is that it doesn\’t take into account the myriad intense emotions that are part of this journey.
\”Although grief is universal and is something everyone will experience during their lives, grief is very personal, and no two people grieve in the same way,\” says Ronnie Collins. \”The five stages of grief certainly sum up what most people go through but these don\’t account for the other emotions and the unique experience of each individual who experiences them. A person may move back and forth between the grief stages or even miss some entirely but that \’emotional rollercoaster\’ is always there.\”
Understanding that your emotions are perfectly normal and that you have a right to \’feel what you feel\’ is crucial to healing but being able to identify, name and understand these feelings is just as important – for the person grieving and for those who are supporting them.
Sometimes death is expected, such as after a long or severe illness. In that case, the family has had time to prepare for it but when it comes, it is still a shock and difficult to come to terms with. The finality of having that hope taken away can cause a bereaved person to go into shock.
When the death is sudden or unexpected, the shock is severe. It may take a few days for the person in mourning to even believe that the deceased is really gone. What a person in shock needs is someone to listen to them. Don\’t say anything, just let them talk and cry and be heard. This helps to validate their grief and let them know that their feelings are being heard.
When the brain and body feel overwhelmed, the brain shuts down what it deems unnecessary and leaves the bereaved with a feeling of being stunned or numb. The person does not think or feel the way they normally would. This numbness has a protective quality to it, a \”blessed anesthesia\” that buys you enough time to begin accepting the painful reality. Your mind will keep you feeling numb until it knows you are ready to move on.
It\’s important to be there for a person in this state. They may need help performing daily functions such as bathing and eating but don\’t rush them. As long as they are feeling supported and loved, they will gather the strength to start facing reality.
When a person starts to accept the reality of their loss, their emotions seem to be let loose. These floods of grief are a good sign: it is part of the process of moving on. A person who is experiencing this should not try to repress their emotions and should be encouraged to talk about their feelings. Releasing your emotions has a cleansing and healing effect on a grieving person. It is as if the tears wash away the worst of the pain and leaves the bereaved a little bit closer to acceptance.
Being able to let your grief out is a necessary part of the healing journey. Avoid responses like \”Men don\’t cry\” or \”You need to stop crying\”; even Jesus cried and showed his grief. Emotions, when they come, should not be fought.
When we lose a person, the smallest things start to remind us of that person. It may be something that belonged to them, a flash of a memory, a smell or even a taste of their favourite food or drink. As painful as it is, these memories have to be recognised and accepted. Once we have faced and dealt with these memories, we can start to accept that a life without them is possible.
Grieving is a very long process. It takes a lot of time and a lot of pain to deal with these memories but dealing with your memories cannot be avoided. Talk about your memories with those close to you, even if it makes you cry. It will help you to heal.
Learning to Live Again
After experiencing the stages of grief, you may be ready to move on and start to live your life again. When someone dies, a part of the one left behind goes with them but it is possible to regrow that part of your life and feel whole again. This doesn\’t mean replacing that part of your life, but starting a new one instead.
When you have learnt to accept the loss, the memories will no longer bring pain, then we can experience new life. Although it takes a long time, you can begin to live life to the full once more and embrace the start of each new day in honour of their memory.
Feeling supported and having a place to share your story and your emotions is important while grieving and developing coping skills and strategies. This is why Mosaic Funeral Group started the #GrievingAlongTogether campaign. It provides those who need it with a platform to find support, encouragement, advice, compassion and understanding.
Mosaic Funeral Group is providing online resources and information on the grieving process and bereavement support. Each of these steps is explored in detail to help people understand them with accompanying online resources and support. Along with this, to help people feel connected, they are encouraging people to share their stories of loss and mourning on social media using the hashtag #GrievingAloneTogether.
For more information, visit www.mosaicfunerals.co.za or follow them on Facebook and Instagram.