How to Cope with the Death of a Loved One

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It’s never easy losing someone you love. Whether it’s a friend, family member, or even your pet, the unexpected loss creates a void you think will never be filled. It may have been sudden, or it may have been expected, but losing someone close to you can cause a deep sense of sorrow, uncertainty, and anger. If someone you loved was taken from you, you’re not alone. Death is a natural life process, and although accepting death is painful, there are a variety of ways you can cope.

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Below, we’ll go over different coping mechanisms that can help you navigate the various stages of grief.

What are the stages of grief?
Psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross outlined the five stages of grief in her book On Death and Dying. The five stages of grief follow the chronological order of denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. While each stage may last longer or shorter for different people, they are commonly experienced by all those who have lost a loved one or are terminally ill. Each stage comes with its own difficulties, and we’re here to provide you with different ways you can cope in order to reach acceptance.

Denial
The first stage of death is denial. Denial is categorized by the sudden shock and disbelief that your loved one has passed and is no longer with you. After you’ve ordered flowers for the funeral, said your goodbyes, and attended the reception, you may be sitting at home unable to grasp the reality that your friend or family member is no longer there. It is during this stage where you will feel utterly hopeless and unable to accept the fact that they’re gone. Whether they died suddenly due to a drug overdose or have been on bed rest for months, denial will always be the first reaction to the news of your loved one’s passing.

Anger
The second stage of grief is anger. Anger helps with the healing process because it allows you to get all of your emotions out and build the bridge between denial and acceptance. When anger settles in, you may find yourself getting mad at things that usually would not bother you. This could be anger towards a friend who failed to attend the funeral, or a family member who seems to have moved through the grieving process at a faster rate than you. Anger is a universal feeling, even for those we idolize, such as when celebrities pass away. Because it’s universal, there’s always someone you can turn to, to ask for advice and help with your grief.

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Bargaining
The third stage of grief is bargaining. It is during this stage where you may turn to God or another higher power and beg to make your reality a dream. During this stage, you’ll find yourself making promises, such as being kinder to people around you, just to bring your loved one back. You’ll also find that during this stage of the grieving process, you’ll begin to blame yourself, asking, “what if…” and “if only…” and will focus on the past. As you begin to bargain, it’s important to remember that these stages are responses to your feelings, and can last either a few minutes or a few days.

Depression
Once you’ve passed the bargaining phase, you’ll begin to focus on the present and reality will sink in. This is where you may begin to feel depressed and believe this feeling of intense sadness will last for eternity. However, depression from grief isn’t a mental illness. Instead, it’s a natural response to a great loss that’s characterized by sadness and uncertainty that will help you along the way to finding acceptance.

However, if your sadness and suffering last, there are numerous ways you can treat depression. You can always seek out help from a professional therapist, or, you can take advantage of your mobile phone and download mental health apps.

Acceptance
The final stage of the grieving process is acceptance. This doesn’t mean you’ll be completely fine and back to your normal self. Instead, acceptance is when you accept your new reality without your loved one in your life. You are no longer depressed or begging for them to come back. Instead, you realize the role they played in your life and adjust to your new life without them. The acceptance stage of grief is similar to the acceptance stage of moving forward after a divorce. You must reorganize various roles and adjust to new tasks and obligations that were once filled by your loved one.

When dealing with grief, one way to cope is by consulting with online grief support. Online grief support platforms will allow you to talk to people who are dealing with similar situations, which will allow you to learn from others and manage your loss.

Key Takeaways on Coping With the Death of a Loved One
Losing a loved one is difficult for everyone and unique to each person. While every response to death is not the same, it’s natural for the bereaved to go through the five stages of the grieving process. Knowing these stages, what their characteristics are, and how to get through each stage, will help you reorient your life and accept your loss.

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Summary
Title
How to Cope with the Death of a Loved One
Description
It’s never easy losing someone you love. Whether it’s a friend, family member, or even your pet, the unexpected loss creates a void you think will never be filled.

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