The stages of grief
When you’re coping with loss, there are various stages of grief. They are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. When you’re experiencing each stage, you may feel the need to fast forward the grieving process. However, you must experience each one so that you can get to acceptance. Unfortunately, there’s no fast-forward button, so you need to experience each phase of grief so that you can get to that last stage. Acceptance is difficult in any context. However, when it comes to grief, it’s especially tough to handle. There is no choice when someone passes away. You have to accept it. But you need to go through all the phases to get to that point.
As people, we often want to control things. When we feel like we have a say in something, there’s a sense of relief. When it comes to death, there is no control. People die, and it’s upsetting. But there is no way to stop death. It happens, and it can be shocking. Even if someone has a terminal illness, we don’t know when they’re going to pass away, and it’s sometimes unexpected when they do. It can take a while to accept that they’re gone, and it hurts. But once we do get to that place of acceptance, there is a level of calm people experience.
Denial is the path to acceptance
Denial is one of the stages of grief. We don’t want to believe that the person is gone. You may be surprised to hear this, but denial is necessary to get to a place of acceptance. You deny that someone died because it hurts, and it’s a way of coping with the extreme pain of loss. Our bodies and minds push away the fact that this person is gone because we want to believe that they are still with us, which is comforting. But it is necessary to go through that stage of “ignorance is bliss,” so that we can get to a place of acceptance.
Anger might be due to acceptance
When you experience anger, it’s because we realize that the person is dead. In some ways, anger is a form of acceptance. We are angry because something clicks in our brains, and we realize that we no longer have our loved one. We accept the fact that they are gone, but we are angry and resentful that they died. We don’t have any control over the fact that the person we love is no longer on earth, and that makes us mad. But, we accept the fact that they are no longer with us, and it’s painful.
Relinquish control to get to acceptance
One of the pathways to acceptance is letting go of control. We cannot control the fact that our loved one died. When you think about our lack of control when it comes to death, it can be freeing. You did not cause the person to die. There is nothing you could have done to stop it, regardless of whether it was a freak accident or an illness. You don’t have the power to control death. In many ways, this is a relief. You can let go of the fact that you did not cause death and understand that once you get to that place, you will be on the road to acceptance.
Acceptance brings peace
Once you accept that your loved one has passed away, there is a feeling of peace that can come over you. You don’t have to stop grieving. You can be sad that the person died. But once you accept that they are not on this earth, you will feel a sense of calmness and think about the good times when they were with you. Death is strange, and it’s not something we can understand, and you don’t have to get it. But you can’t accept that it is a reality of life. If you’re having trouble accepting death, a therapist could help.
How therapy helps grief
When you talk to your therapist, whether it’s online or in your neighborhood, you are speaking to a mental health professional who understands grief. No matter what stage of grief you are in, your mental health provider will help you and support you through it. You don’t have to rush the process of grieving. Take as long as you need and talk to your therapist about the fact that you’re having difficulty accepting that your loved one is gone. They will be patient with you as you grieve. Grief is not linear, and you may move into and out of different phases. Your therapist will help you get to a place of acceptance and move forward in your life, knowing that your loved one is in a better place.