“Tis’ better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.” ~ Alfred Lord Tennyson
By Tara Yilmaz
Grief is something that everyone has or will experience in their lifetime. For those who haven’t experienced it yet, I can honestly say there is no way to prepare for it. Personally, I’ve experienced two overwhelming deaths that changed the course of my life. My godmother 10 years ago and more recently my 16-year-old nephew. Both of them I loved dearly, both deaths occurred suddenly, but my grieving is different for both. There is not a one-size-fits-all approach to grieving and hopefully, this article can highlight that for those who are currently experiencing it, and for those who may be in the future.
Did you know there are different forms of grief? Grief does not come wrapped in a box with a pretty bow on top of it. Grief is much more obscure and complex to process. One never knows beforehand how they will react to loss. Whether that be the loss of health, wealth, relationships, pets, or life. Each of these factors has a great impact on everyday life. From loss of interest, appetite, weight gain, insomnia, depression, and constant heartbreak. Although it’s part of the circle of life, it doesn’t mean it makes it easier to deal with. Grief is a journey, and everyone will experience different versions of it.
Did you know there is a difference between grief, bereavement, and mourning? Grief is defined as a personal response to loss. Mourning is the public expression of that loss and bereavement is the state of having lost a significant other to death as cited in an article by Veterans Affairs (mirecc.va.gov). The article continues by explaining what is considered “Normal Grief.” It states that reactions vary depending on who we are, who we lost, our relationship with that person, the circumstances around their passing, and how much their loss affects our day-to-day functioning. Different people may express grief differently and may even have different grief responses between one loss and another. Reactions to grief and loss include not just emotional symptoms, but also behavioral and physical symptoms. These reactions can often change over time, and all are considered normal for a short period of time.
Did you know there are five stages of grief? According to researchers at Cleveland Clinic, a Swiss-American psychiatrist and researcher Elisabeth Kubler Ross developed the five stages of grief model. Ross became exceedingly famous after she published her book in 1969 called “Death and Dying.” In her book, she described people who were dying from terminal illnesses and gave insight and understanding so that all who have contact with the terminally ill can do more to help them. She also identified five stages of grief experienced by the dying: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and finally acceptance. Interchangeably, these stages are applied to people who also lost a loved one. Ross is credited in the healthcare community for bringing acceptance and respect to the hospice care movement.
Did you know Dictionary.com defines the phrase “new normal” as a current situation, social custom, etc., that is different from what has been experienced or done before but is expected to become usual or typical? Over the years this phrase has been used to describe life after Covid-19 and is commonly associated with grief. You can hear this term on television, in therapy sessions, in support groups, or in everyday conversation. To better explain it, here it is in a descriptive sentence “I’ll never get over the loss of my nephew but in time, I’ll become a new person and find a new normal.”