With funerals at Big Flats, NY funeral homes comes grief. Before the funeral, during the funeral, and after the funeral, grief is a constant. In 1969, psychiatrist Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross published On Death and Dying. In it, Kubler-Ross identified five different stages in the grieving process when someone is dying (but it applies just as much to those who have a loved one die).
The first stage is denial. When people lose a loved one, the mind may record the loss, but the heart denies it. We keep waiting for them to walk through the door. We pick up the phone to text or call them. We look for them, somehow expecting them to be there.
The second stage of grief is anger. We get emotionally upset that our loved isn’t there, that they aren’t coming in the house, answering the phone, and that they’re never going to do any of those things again physically.
The third stage of grief is bargaining. In this stage, we imagine things we’d be willing to change, to let go of, to give up in order to have our loved one back.
The fourth stage of grief is depression. As the reality in our hearts sets in that our loved one is really gone, really not coming back in this life, and we have to face life without them, the cloud of doom and gloom settles in.
The fifth stage of grief is acceptance. This one may take time to reach, but there is a point where we accept that our loved one has died and we start looking forward to ways to forge a new life without them.
In the book, On Grief and Grieving: Finding the Meaning of Grief Through the Five Stages of Loss, a sixth stage of grief is presented.
The sixth stage of grieving is how we seek to find meaning in the legacy that our loved ones have left behind. This be expressed in finding and supporting a charitable organization or a cause that was important to our loved ones. It may mean making sure their story gets preserved through writing a family history or memoir. It can also include handing down family traditions, such as special things they did for holidays or religious celebrations.
While grief causes pain, whether we suffer is optional. Grief doesn’t occur when we don’t love other people, but how we frame the loss can make all the difference in whether we suffer from the pain of grief.
The first step to frame grief positively is to allow ourselves to really feel what we feel. We live in society that avoids this (people usually are expected to return to normal life, whether that’s work or school, three days after their loved ones die or after the funeral), so we are encouraged to put on happy face, get back on the horse, and carry on as if nothing ever happened. Because of this, we don’t get the time to really feel the pain of grief. And that is when we suffer.
But when we allow ourselves the feel the pain deeply and intensely, that is when the search for the meaning of what our loved one left behind for us to be able to take forward in our lives. It creates a bond and connection with our loved one that will last the rest of our lives, and that is comforting.
Not all people experience the six stages of grief, nor, if they do, do they experience them in the order they’re listed in. Sometimes, people go through some or all of the stages of grief many times. We’re all unique and can’t fit into a cookie-cutter framework for such a personal and strong emotion.
To get more information about grief resources at Big Flats, NY funeral homes, our sympathetic and experienced staff at Roberts Funeral Home is available to help. You can come to our funeral home at 279 Main St., Wellsburg, NY 14894, or you can contact us today at (607) 734-7811.