Culture & Lifestyle / Part 1: Grieving The Loss Of A Loved One

Part 1: Grieving The Loss Of A Loved One

Culture & Lifestyle Aug 01, 2015

Part one of our three-part series on the various ways grief can affect your mind, body and soul. 

Grief can be an emotionally gripping experience that can take from as little as a few moments or days to many years in one’s life. In the South Asian community, when a loved one is lost, the ceremonies can be lengthy with annual ceremonies to remember the loved one. One wonders if grief is a necessary part of life? How much is too much? These are common questions when trying to understand the emotions during this time.

Swiss psychiatrist Kubler-Ross, in her book On Death and Dying, talks about the five stages of grief. Remember this is not a linear process. A person ebbs and flows between many of these when grieving. The stages are known by the acronym DABDA and are described as such:

1. Denial

Denial is one of the first reactions a person has when they lose someone. The survivor imagines a false reality and may even deny the reality of the loss just to avoid the emotional pain. Situations, scenarios and conversations are avoided as a way to protect and maintain the false sense of reality.

2. Anger

When denial is no longer useful or soothing, frustration rises and usually those closest to the grieving individual will experience the outbursts of frustration and anger. It is normal for a person to question God and their spiritual beliefs. Blaming is natural and feelings of guilt can also arise making this stage quite painful.

3. Negotiating

This stage engulfs a person to pull as many strings with God to avoid pain and loss. Contemplating scenarios such as, “If she went to the doctor earlier, this situation may have been avoided” or “If he lived a better life this never would have never happened” are some examples.

4. Depression

Mourning and isolation along with sadness and regret enters this time while worries flood the person. Questioning about life is also normal during this time. This stage can be hard to watch and many times all a person needs is a hug. This is very much a stage that requires compassion and understanding and a watchful eye.

5. Acceptance

There is a time that the grieving person accepts the true reality and feels that all is going to be okay. Emotions are more balanced and connections are more meaningful and possible during this time.

Grieving the loss of a loved one is different for everyone so be careful not to judge yourself or another during this time. It's normal to be angry at some point. It's normal to go through intense sadness and depression. And it's important to reach out for help through friends or local grief support networks or counseling to help you through this time. Compassion and empathy are critical. Grief is not a problem to solve but a journey to experience when you have lost a loved one. Give yourself time and space to let your body, mind and soul process the loss in your life.

Helpful Links

If you are looking for bereavement services to support you during this time, please click on the search for services by Hospice Palliative Care of Ontario.

In the U.K., refer to the recommendations by the National Health Service (NHS).

In the United States, Grief Share has a full directory of services available to you. 

Main Image Photo Credit: 

Yvonne Sinniah

Yvonne Sinniah


Yvonne Sinniah (@YvonneSinniah) is a Relations Advisor and inspirational speaker focusing on helping individuals achieve success in personal and professional environments.  focusing on helping individuals achieve success in personal and professional environments.  She is on a mission to meet a nee...


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