Monday, January 26, 2009

Letting Go

Different people have different views about life.. They either marvel about it, or mouth a litany of complaints. Life is is is what you make it...and so on and so forth. But what about death? Not very many will engagingly discuss the topic of death unless the situation is at hand. And since most people find it morbid to dwell on such an issue, they also find it very difficult to accept a tragedy when it strikes.

Death is inevitable as birth is common. However, while birth is considered a natural part of life's processes, people tend to have a different attitude towards death. And yet, it is an eventuality we all have to face sooner or later. Like it or not, we have to cope with it when we are finally faced with the death of someone we care about so much.

We grieve when we lose something. It can be a job, a prized possession, an unborn child, or the end of a relationship. But nothing compares to the loss or death of a loved one which could bring about the most powerful feeling of grief. It is characterized by not just a single feeling but a whole succession of feelings which take a while to overcome and which cannot be hurried. And no matter how similar the the experiences we may have, the intensity of grieving will always be different with each individual. There is no “right” way, or “correct” order for the grieving process.

As soon as the news of death of a close relative or friend is disclosed, most people feel simply stunned, as though they could not believe it has actually happened. Even in the case of terminally ill patients whose demise are already expected, still, most people may feel surprised by the tragedy as if it hasn't been expected at all.

There are times when the sense of emotional numbness initially keeps a person from grieving but helps in getting through some of the important practical arrangements that have to be made, such as getting in touch with relatives, as well as organizing the funeral. Yet sometimes, such feeling of unreality may become a problem if it goes on for too long. Suppressing emotions will only aggravate the situation and can have detrimental repercussions in the physical, emotional, and mental health of an individual.

People who refuse to acknowledge the feelings of sadness have the tendency to avoid relationships which only aggravate the depression. Similarly, emotional eaters usually become angrier with themselves after a bingeing episode.

Guilt is another common feeling for people who are in the process of grieving. They could not get it out of their head and may even consider what they could have done differently to prevent the tragedy of death. The grieving person may need to be reminded that death is usually beyond anyone’s control. In the case of deaths of terminally ill patients, the feeling of relief is natural but may cause guilty feelings.

In due time, the intense pain of grieving, as well as the depression, will fade away and it is again possible to think about the future. Although the sense of having lost a part of oneself never goes away entirely, the final phase of grieving is a letting go of the person who has died. Live a healthy lifestyle!

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