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A word about grief

Samantha Gervais

Assistant Opinions Editor

Photo via Irina Anastasiu/Pexels

Everyone seems to be under the false belief that when we lose someone, lose a relationship or are just mourning in general, there is a “proper” way to grieve. Well, there isn’t.

There are the five stages of grieving: Denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. These stages are normal and healthy for people to maneuver through during a time of loss, but the most common misconception is that the grieving people have to go through the stages in that exact order.

I am currently going through these stages after losing my grandmother very recently. She and I were best friends, so naturally, I am grieving the loss of her, but I’m not necessarily going through the stages in this exact order. She suffered through Alzheimer’s and dementia for just shy of two years; in that time, I felt myself mourning as this disease seemed to take her in small bouts. I was angry, first. Angry that this was happening to her – not my grandmother.

Then the bargaining hit, and then the denial. Now, I sit in a limbo of depression and acceptance. I’m not really sure I will be able to 100% believe she’s gone, but I know I can accept she isn’t suffering anymore and that brings me great comfort. The stage of depression seems to last the longest, as now I must get used to life, and a world, without my grandmother.

My own pattern of grief seems to be almost in order, but it isn’t. As we grieve, everyone can feel the feelings at once, or sometimes, not even for a little while after the loss, though you can argue that’s the denial phase.

Death isn’t the only thing that people grieve over, either, which is another misconception that’s difficult to get some people to wrap their heads around. People can mourn the loss of a friendship, relationship or a personal battle such as someone becoming permanently disabled, meaning they can mourn what they were previously able to do. There is much a person can mourn.

There is also no time limit to mourning. There is no rulebook saying that a person’s mourning must be over by a specific date. The idea such as mourning the loss of a loved one should take up to a year and you’ll feel better or that a person must experience so many stages by such a date is not how this process works.

Being gentle with ourselves as we grieve is one of the most important things to always remember and practice. Grieving is always a healthy thing for us to do. Everyone does it at some point in their lives. One thing to try to always keep in mind, though, is that someway, somehow, even if just a little, things get better.


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