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  • Christina Anozie

Good Grief!

How many times have we heard the phrase, "Good Grief"? What's so good about grief anyway?

In general, grief refers to a feeling of overwhelming sadness surrounding a loss. How you deal with grief comes primarily from your socialization – how you were taught and what you observed from how those around you grieved.

“Rising Cairn” a 4,000 lb stone sculpture is the work of artist Celeste Roberge.

In short, grief can be defined as a

person’s response to loss. You can experience grief as a result of many different kinds of loss. Loss of a person you held dear, loss of a job, loss through a major move, loss of health, and loss of a relationship you had or a relationship you desired, are all examples of losses that can result in that ever so heavy feeling of grief.

In her teachings on grief, psychiatrist Elisabeth Kubler-Ross identified five stages of grief:

  1. Denial: “This cannot be happening to me.” Denial serves as a protection mechanism when it is difficult for us to comprehend the depths of the loss we are experiencing.

  2. Anger: “Why is this happening to me?” Anger is a common experience in the process of grief. Some people feel guilty when they feel angry, but it is a natural reaction to a loss that we deem unfair or out of our control.

  3. Bargaining: “Please, don’t let this happen to me.” Bargaining is a response that commonly arises out of a feeling of absolute desperation. It is an attempt to petition a higher power or deity to intervene in our situation.

  4. Depression: “Things are hopeless.” Depression may begin when reality starts to sink in and the gravity of the situation becomes more clear.

  5. Acceptance: “This is happening and I cannot change it.” Acceptance does not mean that the loss no longer hurts. It simply refers to the stage of grief where you come to terms with the unchangeable terms of the situation.

What some people do not realize is that the stages of grief are not linear. It is more common to vacillate between different stages of grief in no particular order. If you are experiencing grief, I invite you to take the time to pause and identify which stage you may be experiencing. Perhaps this will help you find the words you need to better explain your experiences to those around you. While grief is often associated with pain, there can be some "good" in grief. Some find their grieving time as a time to clarify their purpose in life, and some have identified it as a time where they became close to those they love. Are you grieving? Is there any good in your grief? Consider that ... “The pain of grief is just as much part of life as the joy of love: it is perhaps the price we pay for love, the cost of commitment. To ignore this fact, or to pretend that it is not so, is to put on emotional blinkers which leave us unprepared for the losses that will inevitably occur in our own lives and unprepared to help others cope with losses in theirs.” Dr. Colin Murray Parkes, British psychiatrist.

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