Although the grieving process follows a rough progression of steps, from denial to acceptance, there may also be a significant element that is not expected in retrospection. Time and again I witness clients whether for themselves or others, having to face their own mortality. This is a frighten aspect of life that in our culture appears to be avoided like the plague. Death of those close to us, or the threat of our own death may cause enormous uncertainty about what it is to be alive. This terminal stage of living follows no logic physiologically, emotionally, cognitively, or socially, particularly if we ask why someone had to die. Enter the realm of the spiritual or lack thereof. Each and every one of us has beliefs about the world, this includes death. This can be a frightening awakening if we have not dealt with this before, and I would say particularly if we have previously thought that we had everything in life under control. Ultimately death is out of our control, it comes to all of us eventually. If we deny this aspect of life, it is my belief that we lose the meaning for living. In my practice I help clients to become a little more familiar with the prospect of mortality, which often aids in the development of values and beliefs not only around dying , but for living a more complete and satisfying life.
Emotional pain and suffering, at some point in our lives we all face it. It appears to be an inevitable part of living. There are many books written by many authors on the subject and many are well worth reading. However, the reading does not take away the pain and suffering. It may help us to find ways to deal with it, but we are left with the emotional burden. I once heard a quote, “pain it the quickest way to god” It doesn’t specify which god any culture in particular so it’s fairly generic, any pain, any god. My point in all this is that if we are unable to deal with our pain and suffering we may be trapped in any one of the defined stages of grieving, denial/ isolation, anger, bargaining, depression, and fail to move forward in living. Talking with others who care about you may help immensely so that would be the first step. For those caregivers, being a good listener is at the heart of healing. If you are not able to take this step, you may want to see a counsellor. Many of us in the counselling profession are able to help the grieving individual find a perspective that helps the process along.