There is nothing harder in this life than dealing with the sudden loss of a family member. Survivors will often experience anger and a feeling of being overwhelmed. They may even succumb to long periods of depression. Understanding the six stages of grief is important in guiding someone back to place of peace and happiness.
1. Denial and Shock
It is natural to be shocked upon learning of the loss, especially if it was sudden or unexpected. One may feel like they are living in an alternate reality where nothing is what it seems, or they may be in denial that the accident happened at all. A person can go through many feelings and even have some physical reactions in a state of shock as well, including dizziness and nausea. Feelings of denial can stem from a lack of understanding, so there are some things one can do to perhaps make them more in tune with reality.
Guilt can happen if one has regrets about things unsaid or something they wished they did for someone who is gone. It stems from a desire to go back in time and do some things over again. A grief coach may be helpful here to give the griever somewhere to share the experience and put it into some more perspective. This stage is also wrought with pain – a person will grieve the loss of their loved one intensely and may even become consumed by the pain felt at their absence or by reminders of their life and death.
The third stage of grief is anger. With a loss, feelings of disbelief can turn into frustration and anger. Thoughts of “why is this happening to me” are quite common. It is also normal to feel anger towards yourself for not being able to change the situation or anger at the person for causing it. Additionally, you may become angry at someone who has nothing to do with the situation. It’s also common to bargain with a higher power if a survivor believes in one. Additionally, survivors often make promises and plead for their loved one to be brought back to them.
Sadness and loneliness after a loved one’s death – even months or years after – is healthy. You may even revisit this stage from time to time throughout your life. One of the hardest things to do is feel alone in a bad situation. However, loneliness can accompany feelings of depression. It is a time for reflection, going back and thinking of the past. In some ways, this is the first sign of acceptance.
Eventually a person will have to reconstruct their life without their loved one. This can be challenging. Learning to live without them may seem impossible, but during this stage is when a person may begin to see solutions to problems and be able to think more clearly about the things around them.
6. Hope and Acceptance
The idea of accepting a loved one’s death and having hope may seem entirely impossible. Eventually, it won’t be. The mind and heart will begin to accept that the loved one is gone. As life reshapes without them in it, survivors may begin to feel hopeful about what the future has in store for them and other loved ones.
Not everyone will move through the stages of grief after a wrongful death in a linear fashion. They may start out angry, move into shock and denial, try to reconstruct, move into loneliness and guilt, and then move on to acceptance. Once acceptance is reached, that doesn’t mean the grief is over. It’s normal to revisit any one or more of the stages of grief again throughout life.
At Parker Law Firm, our compassionate legal team will help you discover resources to cope with grief after a wrongful death, and we can help you explore the possibility of obtaining justice for your loved one through a wrongful death claim. Call today for a consultation at 817.440.3888.