Loss and mourning lead a person to an inevitable grief. Every loss experienced revives other past losses. A truly mournable loss is also a vehicle for growth and renewal. There are also positive aspects that it adds to the person.
Each person’s age is individual and unique. Even if you are in the same family, the way of grieving differs from person to person. Existence of past losses and the characteristics of the relationship with the lost person affect how the grieving process will be experienced. Risk factors that complicate grief include the deceased and unresolved issues, sudden-unexpected losses, unresolved past losses, and personality traits.
The greater the dependency with the lost person, the more challenging it can be to let go of the person who needs them. This can be seen in the loss of parents during childhood and adolescence. Until the adolescence process is completed, the child needs its parents and is full of unfinished issues as a result of the process. People who have completed puberty can grieve like an adult.
Reactions in the first stage of the grieving process usually in the form of denial, denial. The person does not believe in death and hopes that something may be wrong. “This can’t happen to me” thought dominates. One part of the mind denies the loss while another part allows it to know. The splitting defense mechanism is unconsciously activated.
The person may feel anger. “Why is this happening? Why me? Who is guilty?” With this question, he can direct his anger to other people who do not experience this situation. In this process, the feeling of anger created by being left behind is seen in the person.
In the grieving process, the person almost enters into a bargain in order to cope with the reality he lives in. At this stage there is a higher awareness of loss. Trying to bring back the times before the breakup, temporary moments of guilt “I wish I had taken him to the doctor, I wish I had thought about these” etc. thoughts can be seen.
Distress and depressive symptoms manifest themselves more as the reality of the loss is realized. When a person sees that other phases are not working and time is running out, he mourns past mistakes, regrets, and loss.
The process of acceptance manifests itself when the grieving is complete. In the crisis period, as the grief ends, the denial, the division gradually decreases. Even if it is difficult, the person who accepts the process tries to make a plan and complete the unfinished business. Dreams frequently seen in this period reflect the conflict between acceptance of death and desires, and connect with the unconscious.
Lost and in the Grief Process What are the things that can be done?
Each family member should be allowed to express their feelings and ask questions. The person may be encouraged to speak openly about their feelings. Facts about the loss should be shared in an age-appropriate way for each individual. The child’s understanding of the concept of death varies according to his age. From the age of 10, the child can abstractly understand the concept of death and that death is an end. A prepubescent child’s reactions to loss may seem strange to an adult. Confronting the loss of someone they care about can be quite challenging for a child. In this process, the child’s inability to tolerate sadness, not reacting, laughing, showing different behaviors, and not being able to cope with this intense emotion is called “reversal of emotion”.
The survivor’s coping skills, being able to complete his/her own grief, comforting the child, and providing suitable objects to replace the lost are very effective in the recovery of the child after the loss.
Every grief has a beginning and an end. Understanding what the loss means to the person and the factors that make the loss difficult in long-lasting incomplete grief is important for a healthy resolution of the process. In this process, it may be necessary to express feelings, to determine at what point the mourning is stuck, and to make a distinction between the person and the lost person.
In such cases, psychotherapy support will be beneficial for a healthy grieving process. Even in the negative events experienced, the situation experienced as well as the pain and sadness can be a tool for the growth and development of the person.