Grief – Processing Something So Permanent
There are only a few things in the human life span that are inevitable and certain – grief being one of them.
When we speak of grief; we are referring to deep sorrow that is commonly derived from loss – most commonly death. So, how do we deal with something so real, so unexpected, so permanent? The truth is, you never know how you will handle losing someone to death until you experience it. But then what? How do you make sense of it? How do you adjust to that person being gone? The reminders of them? These are questions commonly explored when a person is grieving someone because of death. In 1969, the Psychiatrist, Jane Kubler-Ross came up with the model of “The 5 Stages of Grief.”
The 5 Stages of Grief
The model originally stemmed from her work with terminally ill patients processing the end of their life. However, over time, it was discovered that The 5 Stages of Grief are relevant and accurate for those who are grieving the loss of a loved one. In the therapeutic world, this model is often used to help clients understand their emotions as the 5 stages describe the feelings and dynamics of what processing grief emotionally looks like. The 5 stages are: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. One thing that is most reiterated in therapy for someone who is working through grief, is that while the stages are often introduced in that order when teaching someone about them; the real grief process is all over the place. You may have three days where you are sad and then a day where you are more accepting of things. The following day you could be angry, then halfway through the day you could be sad, again. The thing to remember is, that it is important to allow yourself to feel the emotion of each stage and to give yourself grace as each stage changes. While
The TEAR Model
The 5 Stages of Grief are beneficial for understanding feelings, what else is out there to help us understand how to navigate through daily life without our loved one? In 1991, Researcher and Psychologist, William Worden, developed a model called “The 4 Tasks of Mourning” or “The TEAR Model.” This Model discusses what Worden describes as the tasks that need to be completed for the mourning process to run it’s full course. The stages looked at are learning to accept the reality of the loss, Experiencing the Pain of the Loss, adjusting to the environment without the person and Reinvesting in your new reality while finding a healthy way to remember the loved one. The fact of the matter is, that these theories and the others out there are good ways to help understand the process of grief; however; the best way to heal is to allow yourself time, let yourself feel the emotions, and engage in individual therapy or grief groups as a way to process and express your feelings. While grief is inevitable in the human experience – remember, you are not alone!