Grief can be a tricky subject. It is not one we want to think or talk about. However, there will come a time in our lives when we are all afflicted with grief. Whether it be from the loss of a loved one or a family pet, or it might be from a loss of a job in which we found our identity. If you are struggling with losing something that you held dear to you, then you are suffering from grief.
What is grief exactly? According to the dictionary website, grief is defined as “a deep sorrow, especially from the loss of a loved one.” If this seems very vague and broad to you, that is because it is. Grief encompasses so many scenarios that it can be difficult to pinpoint its exact definition.
The Grief Recovery Method has a better more defined explanation for grief. They explain grief as “Grief is the normal and natural emotional reaction to loss or change of any kind.” This seems to cover more of how broad the scope of this topic is.
The hope of this article is to break grief down and explain it as fully as we can. Here at Everlasting Memories we work with many people going through all kinds of grief. And we can assure you there is no one “typical” kind of grief, just as there is no singular, correct way to grieve. We all go through this process individually and the key is to find your path and follow it. Hopefully this article can help with that.
Grief is an emotion we will all deal with at some point in our lives. How we handle these emotions is a very important part of our lives. As the saying goes, the hardest part is acknowledging these emotions and understanding they are important and valuable.
Regardless of what you are grieving, whether it is the loss of a loved one, the loss of a job, or losing your independence as we get older. Each of these life situations validates going through the grieving process.
While experiencing grief can be overwhelming at times, we cannot move on with our lives in a healthy manner without going through the grieving process first. It is especially difficult to grieve when grief is combined with regret or despair. These can become emotions that are overwhelming and even the simplest of tasks can become difficult to complete.
We all experience grief differently. While we will all go through the process of grief at some point in our lives, it is still deeply personal in just how we cope with our own situation. Grief can be a universal feeling tying two people together, and yet it can also be very polarizing as a family might grieve a loved one very differently.
While experiencing the overwhelming emotions of grief, just getting out of bed in the morning can be difficult. Daily activities such as this, along with having any sort of appetite can become difficult at best to accomplish each day. It is important to talk about all the emotions you are feeling. It is important to have a reliable support system to help you work through your emotions, but also to help you with the day to day activities when you are unable.
There are not guidelines or set time frame in which the grieving process needs to be completed. Each person is different in how they cope with their loss. You or your loved one will need a loving and caring support system to get through the grieving process.
As you or your loved ones experience the grieving process, it is important to recognize the signs and symptoms. Each person might go through the grieving process in their own unique way; however, we will also experience similar emotions as we grieve loss.
The grief process will look different for everybody. The feelings and emotions you have will be a medley of both physical and emotional symptoms. Some people might delve into work while someone else might not leave their house for days.
Regardless, each person is going through their own process. Being a support for your loved one can great improve their ability to cope with this loss and sadness. There are so many resources available to you as you work through the grieving process, it is important to find and use these resources.
As you go through the stages of grief, the symptoms of your grieving process might change or diminish. Eventually, you will be able to put your grief to rest and live a fulfilled life. You will always have the memories of your loved one, and Everlasting Memories is here to help you as your work through the stages of grief.
The stages are not a singular linear process, one followed after the other. Sometimes you might find yourself looping back and forth between two stages. Other times might just feel like a roller coaster of emotions. If we try to put the stages into neat little boxes then this can start to make you feel like you are not “grieving right.”
There is not right or wrong way to process your own grief emotions. However, over time psychologists have seen these five stages help their patients cope with the grieving process.
These five stages are:
Some people might spend more time in one stage than another; you or your loved one might never fully process the final stage of acceptance.
As you start to enter the acceptance phase, you might find yourself better able to organize your thoughts as well as your daily activities. This is a good sign that you are coming to peace with your loss. Eventually you will be able to remember your loved one without all of the pain and heartbreak of the previous stages of grief.
Keeping your precious memories close to you will help to be a tangible reminder of your loved one while still allowing you to come to a place of comfort peace. A perfect example of this is a piece of photo engraved jewelry. This is a great product to help those that are going through the grieving process. It provides a visual reminder of your loved one to keep with you every day.
You will never stop missing your loved one. However, having a healthy sense of peace and acceptance will allow you to continue to live a fulfilling life. Your loved one would not want you to stay in one of the other stages of grief forever.
As you move along your path towards acceptance and peace, you will find that having the memory of your loved one close will help immensely. With a number of beautiful photo backgrounds along with a photo of your loved one, these beautiful photo urns will give your loved one a place of honor in your home.
These photo urns are fully customizable. No two people are alike, and your loved one was unique as well. We can customize your memorial photo urn to reflect this individuality. From the photo to the text, it can all be customized to reflect the true personality of your loved one.
Whether or not you go through each stage is not as important as ensuring that you are acknowledging all of your emotions and working through each one. There are two stages that are particularly important that you or your loved one not get stuck in.
All of the stages of grief are necessary as you go through the grief process. However, there are two stages that can become dangerous if your grieving loved one does not process all of the necessary emotions. These two stages are anger and depression.
If you have suffered loss, you likely have felt the pain of anger or experienced angry outbursts. Be careful with your emotions here, try to be aware when you feel the anger coming on. You do not want to ruin relationships with those who are still with you while you cope with this important stage.
It is not healthy to suppress these feelings of anger, but rather to be aware and address them. You might feel angry towards your loved one who left you, or you might be angry at the circumstances that caused your loss. Either way, or if you are angry at yourself, it is important to keep a watchful eye on your actions during this stage.
Allow yourself (or your loved one) to express these important emotions. And yet, be careful that you do not do so in a manner that is not hurtful or could cause irreparable damages to your current relationships.
Mourning the loss of a loved one looks differently for everybody. However, we all need someone to talk to. If you find yourself in a situation where you have no one to talk with, reach out. There are professionals that help people in your situation every day. They will gladly help you work through processing your emotions in a healthy way.
Again, as mentioned earlier, everyone goes through the stages of grief very differently. However, typically after you have worked your way through the anger stage you will likely come to the depression stage. Depression can look like the exact opposite of the rage of emotions felt during the anger stage.
During this stage, you might feel despair or overwhelming sadness. You will likely have times when you feel all alone or like you don’t have a sense of purpose. There will be days when you find it hard to move forward, but remember each day will get better.
The danger comes when you lose hope that each day will get better. If you have a loved one who seems to be in a stage of experiencing chronic grief and cannot come out of this stage of depression, it is important to get help.
As mentioned earlier, you might never fully finish the acceptance stage of grief. Healing after loss does not mean that you miss your loved one any less. It does not mean that you are okay with them being gone. What it means is that you can move on with your daily life in a healthy manner.
This might look different for each individual. And it is important that we not judge what other lives look like as they try to work through their own acceptance and moving on. Eventually you will be able to start making plans and start planning a life without your loved one.
Here at Everlasting Memories, we have worked with families as they have worked through their own healing after a loss. We love to see how keeping the good memories alive through tangible keepsakes can help you to continue with your own healing process.
One of my favorite items in our collection to aid in this healing process is our memorial coin. It is small enough to carry with you every day. The front has an amazing deep engraving of a photo of your loved one. On the back you can put some of your favorite sayings of your loved on or simply their information as shown in the picture below.
Carry this memorial coin as you continue on with the everyday activities of your life. It can inspire you and keep their memory alive while also healing and grieving. This coin also makes a great gift for a loved one who is grieving through loss. It can serve as a great reminder to how much they meant to you, remember you can move on without forgetting.
Moving forward with your life is vital as your work through your grief. This does not mean that you love them any less or that you will forget about them. They were an important part of your life. But they would also not want to you stay in a stage of chronic grief as mentioned above.
Two of the biggest helpers when coping with grief are: awareness of each stage along the way, as well as an amazing support system. You do not need to go through this alone. If you do not have a support system, find one.
There are many grief support groups online. Find the one that best fits you and your situation – whether you are a single mom with young children or aging adults alone for the first time in decades. There is a group for you; the best thing you can do for yourself is to find it.
Grief has many faces and can be difficult to define in a singular sentence. Hopefully this article helped you dive a little deeper into the entirety of the subject. There are many resources and people who want to help you process your emotions throughout this difficult time.
The grieving process takes time and is not to be rushed through. Some people will just take longer to go through each phase, and that is perfectly okay. Each stage is important in its own unique way. Don’t discount any part of the process, experience it fully so that you can emerge on the other side ready to take on whatever life has for you next.
There are many versions available in the many stages of grief. More importantly than figuring out how many stages there are, it is vital you are aware of each one. As you move from the rages of anger, through the intense lows of depression, and then on to the art of bargaining – each stage has its own therapeutic benefits. Discarding any one of these can be detrimental to your health and getting all the way through the process.
Don’t get stuck in any one phase, especially be aware of the dangers of the anger and depression phase. These can cause irreparable damages to your relationships with those family members still with you. Remember, they are also traveling their own path through grief and their process will look different from yours. Be aware and also be understanding that we each process grief very differently.
However, despite its many curves and dips, this process is an important one to be able to move on and carry on with the rest of your life. Your loved one would want you to be fulfilled and live a vibrant life. Just because they are no longer with you in person, keep their memory alive in your heart.
Everlasting Memories hopes to be able to play a small role in helping you to fully experience the entire grieving process. Don’t try to stifle any one stage, but also don’t get stuck in one stage forever. The path you take will not be a straight line from point A to point B – and it certainly will not be an easy path to follow.
Having physical keepsakes such as the Forever Memorial Portrait, a Memorial Keepsake Box, or the Memorial Initial keychain will also aid you in keeping their memory alive. We would love to help you with creating precious and everlasting memento so that you can keep their memory alive as you move forward.
If you would like to hear more about the amazing emotional benefits of any of these keepsakes items, we would love to talk with you some more. Please reach out to us, don’t suffer through grief another day without finding some way to process your emotions. Call 1-877-723-4242 or email us so we can talk more about how you can memorialize your loved one in a way that will bring your memories to life.
Updated July 10, 2019 by Frances Kay