In July 2019 I lost one of the most important people to me, my Nan, she passed due to having cancer in her upper bowel. She was a patient at both Darenth Valley and Kings College hospital, and I have got to say they were the most supportive doctors and nurses that we could’ve asked for. Me and my Mum moved in with my nan in 2016 to look after her after she broke her back while falling over. My nan meant everything to me; she helped my mum raise me even after the depressing stage she had after my Grandad passed away in 2006. When it comes to the different stages of grief me and my family are in the very early stages and are still trying to come to terms with what happened.
The first stage of grief is denial and isolation. This is when the world becomes meaningless and overwhelming and you are in a state of shock and denial. However, this stage helps people to survive the loss of a loved one. Denial is nature’s way letting in as much as you can handle and as the denial starts to fade, all the feelings that you were denying starts to surface. This stage has been a massive factor to me and my family. In my case I have pushed everyone away and stayed at home as much as I could, it has also started affecting my work life and college life as it has become a great task to get myself there. We have been constantly telling ourselves, “She’s still in the hospital, we’ll see her soon.” And in all honesty if I’m ever feeling low – this is something that I still tell myself.
The second stage is anger, this is a necessary part of the healing process. I can say from experience that it can sometimes feel endless but the more you truly feel it then the more you will heal. There many emotions under the anger such as hurt and frustrated but anger is the one, we use the most to manage, we also use the anger to hide the pain of feeling deserted and abandon. The anger has no limits and can usually extend to your family and friends, for me I became so mad at the people that didn’t show up to my nans funeral as it was people that we call “family” and their excuses was that they “couldn’t make it”. Everyone’s anger is just another indication of the intensity of their love.
The third stage of dealing with grief is bargaining, before a loss it seems like you will do anything if only your loved one will be spared. You start to be obsessed with “if only” and “what if” statements, this is when you start to feel guilty because the what if statements make us find faults in ourselves and make up think what we could have done differently. This is something me and my family constantly have done and still do; we blame ourselves for leaving her alone for a couple hours and asking ourselves “if only we noticed the illness earlier”. Even though this is the third stage of dealing with losing a loved one, it doesn’t mean we fixate on this one stage. Most of the time we end up flickering between each stage or feeling several emotions at once so you could even feel anger and guilt at the same time.
The next stage is depression, this is when your attention moves to the present, empty feelings present themselves and grief enters our life on a much deeper level. Just like anger, depression can feel as if it will last forever. A lot of people often see this stage as unnatural and like it is something that needs to be fixed or someone needs to be snapped out of it. A lot of people don’t understand that this stage is much needed for the healing process.
The final stage is acceptance, this I when you start to accept the reality that our loved one is physically gone and recognising that this new reality is permanent. This is often confused with the notion that you’re completely alright and okay with what has happened, but this is never the case. During this stage we start to reach out to friends and family, starting to invest more time into relationships and just overall started to live your life again.
It is natural to feel anything of these things such as anger or depression no matter what anyone else thinks, you can’t put a limited amount of time of coming to terms with what you are going through. Take it from me and even if you’re in the early stages of grief do everything you can to not push people away or let your family push you away. If you’re ever really struggling, there are places to help and people you can talk to if you need to talk to someone who isn’t your family or friend. I have put some links below and if you ever need to talk to anyone these are the numbers to call.
National Youth Crisis Hotline: 1-800-448-4663
The Samaritans: (877) 870-4673 (HOPE)