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Dealing with the Weight of Grief

Whether it is the death of a friend, family member, or people in your community, grief is a process, and it is different for everyone.

The+impact+of+degree+is+often+mentally+detrimental.
The impact of degree is often mentally detrimental.

The impact of degree is often mentally detrimental.

The impact of degree is often mentally detrimental.

Anakin Morales-Jimenez, Reporter

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Grief— the heavy lump in your throat that is difficult to swallow, the stinging in your eyes that threaten to burst out tears, the empty and painful feeling in your chest that simply rests there. It is the heart-wrenching response to emotional trauma.

Grief can be caused by a number of things like the death of a loved one, a divorce or breakup, losing a job or dream, being terminally ill, or miscarriage.It is caused by anything that is considered emotionally traumatic.

Death is a sensitive topic, there is no denying that the concept holds an underlying factor that causes distress and discomfort. When situations like the Thornton Walmart Shooting, the NYC Truck Terror Attack, and the Texas Church Shooting come up, the part in which people were killed instantly comes to mind.

I, personally, have dealt with grief that was caused by death, which is the most attributed factor to grief above anything else in our society.

Within the past few years, I have dealt with the death of three individuals I held deeply to my heart. They were all close friends that I have known for years, and their deaths are scattered by roughly eight months each, starting in June of 2016.

All that can be said is that losing a close friend is absolutely heartbreaking– often unbelievable- that the person you once considered to be one of the best people in existence is no longer going to slip into their favorite sweatshirt for the wintry weather.

Having gone through three instances in which I unfortunately experienced death, with the loss of three once lively and blossoming people, I have learned quite a few things about the process of grieving and seeking comfort.

At one point or another, one might have learned that grief occurs in specific changes. As idealized by Dr. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross in her book, “On Death and Dying,” in order, the stages include Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance. The Stages of Grief were originally recognized to describe the process an individual experiences when they realize that they will soon be dead, whether it is being terminally ill, or considerably of old age.

According to the Aroostook Mental Health Center, “…[Dr. Kubler-Ross’s] stages have since been borrowed by the larger grief community as a means of describing the grief process more generally,” says psychologist Kathryn Patricelli, “Coming to terms with dying is certainly a loss experience and an occasion for grief, so there is merit to this borrowing and reason to become familiar with Dr. Kubler-Ross’ stages.”

1. Grief is not, by any means, an organized process.

Not everyone who experiences death of someone who they knew is subjected to go through the exact format and order of the Stages of Grief, as disclaimed by Patricelli.

Anger can come first, acceptance can come immediately after a short wave of confusion, and depression can come after acceptance. There is no specific order. However, it is preferable if one follows the exact steps of the grieving process as listed in the order in which they are seen in the most logical and human way. Otherwise, it may or may not be viewed as odd.

2. There is definitely not a set time period for how long you should grieve.

According to FamilyDoctor, “There is no set timetable for grief. You’ll probably start to feel better in 6 to 8 weeks. The whole process can last anywhere from 6 months to 4 years.”

During the entire process, it is then a matter of taking care of oneself. There are multiple resources online for counseling focused on grief, and various reminders and tips that all say that it is best to move forward instead of holding on, and maintaining health to a relatively average level. Shower every day, eat three nutritious meals a day, sleep for at least eight hours at night– that is all necessary despite how much one might be against the world at the moment.

3. Holding in emotion is never a great idea.

Holding in emotions is arguably the worst resort to take when grieving because it is intentionally turning away from the world, and suffering alone with virtually no one to converse with or nothing to write in. Whether it is seeking therapy through a counselor, contacting a trusted friend, keeping a journal, or anything that is not considered self-destructive, as long as grief is not left alone. When grieving, it is important to consider these options.

Whatever might be going on in someone’s life, the universal thing about grief is that it should not be ignored. I learned that the hard way these past few days while mourning the death of one of my closest friends, and I definitely would not advise ignoring the strong wave of emotions that come at varied times.

As for the people who are not currently grieving, be aware of those who are. Be considerate, kind, and respectful because one never knows what another is going through.

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Dealing with the Weight of Grief