March 6, 2015 Loss Loss is something that everyone will experience at some point in their life. It is a very hard thing to go through and overcome. There is really no way to prepare someone for dealing with loss. All people grieve differently, but the stages of grief are universal and are experienced by people in their own ways. The five stages of grief are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. The five stages of grief is a natural cycle that everyone may have a different experience with. Resisting grief will only prolong the natural healing process. Grief is a reaction to a significant loss that can profoundly affect all aspects of life and capacity to function well. If someone can not come to terms with the loss they have encountered, their life will be negatively affected for a very long time. Everyone will go through the five stages of grief at a different pace, and possibly a different order, but they will only be able to overcome it once they have allowed themselves to properly grieve.
The first stage of grief that many people go through when they lose a loved one or experience any type of loss is denial. This means the person is subconsciously denying what actually happened, almost as a form of protection. As humans we block out words and hide from the facts. This response is temporary and carries us through the first wave of pain. A qualitative study designed by the College of Nursing at Marmara University in Istanbul, Turkey, wanted to determine what the emotional reactions, experiences, and coping mechanisms families went through after the death of their child from cancer. (213) There were five families that took part in the study, and all families displayed similar reactions upon being informed about the loss of their children, whether it was expected or unexpected. The study claims that the first reaction was shock and disbelief of the loss. This example shows that even though they were expecting the loss, they still felt a wave of denial and disbelief. It is hard for people to wrap their head around what just happened. You can try to mentally prepare yourself, but there is no way to truly prepare yourself for how you are going to feel once it actually happens. The hardest thing for people to wrap their minds around when they lose someone is the fact that they will never get to see them again. They will replay the last conversation they had with the person in their heads over and over and wish that they could somehow bring the person back.
The second stage of grief is anger. The first stage of denial is an attempt to mask the pain. Once the pain masking effects start to wear off, reality will kick in, the pain will re-emerge, and the person will have an intense emotion of anger. The vulnerability that people feel when they experience loss is redirected into anger. The anger can be directed at almost anything, such as inanimate objects, complete strangers, friends, family, God, etc. As humans we feel guilty for being angry, which makes us even more angry. In an article called “Dealing with Death: Anger at God after a Loved one Dies” by Al Miles, published in The American Journal of Nursing Vol. 98, (para. 2.) Miles talked about a scenario of loss where the husband of a women who died of cancer showed anger at God. Sarah was a 43 year old women who did of cancer, after struggling for 11 months. Her husband, Andy spoke with the author about his anger he felt after her death. He said things like: “where was God’s mercy during Sarah’s illness?” and “Why would he allow her to suffer that long, does he really give a damn about us?”. This example of anger after loss really shows that people feel the need to be angry at “something” to cope. They have so much emotion bottled up inside of them that the natural reaction after denial is to put their anger out on something else. They do not know how to deal with the situation, so they feel the need to take their