At somepoint time, all humans overheard the somber cliché “here today and gonetomorrow.” Yes, it is true that one couldhave something (loving member) today and lose it tomorrow causing one heartacheand pain. One may also experience all kinds of difficult emotions, and it may feel like the painand sadness never letsup. Furthermore, there maybe times when hurt and suffering feels like a dagger thrown through one’s heart. Each of the previous experiences can benormal feelings after a significant loss; especially, if the loss relates tosomeone one deeply cares about. Griefcan result from those experiences as well.
This paper examines the five stages of grief and bereavement. It also discusses how different cultures dealwith grieving or mourning the loss of a loved one. Althoughthere is no right or wrong way for grieving a person’s death, one may findhealthier alternatives to cope with an unexpected lost. Research suggested thatgrieving represents a natural feeling that humans experience after losingsomeone or something (e.g., death of a pet) to death (Halperin,2013; Kübler-Ross & Kessler, 2014). One may encounter depressive or sad thoughts, or may perhaps happy ormemorable thoughts during a bereavement period, but it is important tounderstand that grieving is an innate part of human nature (Kübler-Ross &Kessler, 2014). Before discussing thefive stages of grief, one provides an example of a recent real-life situationthat relates to mourning the loss of loved ones.
Brief Rundown of a Real-life GrievingSituationGetting that dreading phone call between 3 and 5 a. m. lead to many sleepless nights recently. An overwhelming feeling as one triesto embrace oneself with the unimaginable,yet realistic sound of “your loved one has passed” still resonates today as it did when one a dear friendearlier this year and my grandmother on three days before this past Christmas. Now, one feltmany emotions when my close friend died. However, losing my grandmother brought out many more feelings andemotions.
All one canthink about right now is that we buried our matriarch, our rock and spiritual- guider, and loved onea couple of days ago. She was a veryinspirational person who loved God, her off-springs, and community. Although one submitted a version of thispaper earlier this year, my grandmother’s death resurrected my thoughtsgrieving. One can assume that mourningthe loss of a loved one isdifficult, inclusive, andinevitable.
All humans experience grief, no matterthe cultural backgrounds orreligious beliefs (Lim, 2013; Kübler-Ross , 2014). In closing, everyone grieves differently. Smith,Robinson, and Segal (2012) stated that grief is a natural reaction to losingsomething one cherished (e.g., a pet or family emblems) or a loved one. During mourning, one may also suffer anemotional rollercoaster (i.e., experience a wave of emotions), mood swings, andsometimes depression (Lim, 2013; Smith et al.
, 2012). Each of these areas can be associated withthe five stages of grief. The Five Stages of GriefLim (2013)credited Kübler-Ross for developing the griefstages in the late 1960s. The first phasedenial (this can’t behappening to me) refers to the inability to cope or accept losing something (Halperin,2013; Lim, 2013; Smith etal., 2017). The second phase anger (why would this happen, who must I blame), Smith et al.
(2017)explained may be aimed at certainobjects, family, friends, and work colleagues. Smith et al. further implied that one couldlearn ways to channel the anger to prevent it from becominguncontrollable. For example, venting (i.
e., sharing the information to another person) orjotting down your thoughts in a journal rather than internalizing the negative or angry thoughts may perhaps make it easier to accept losing a loved one.Bargaining (make this not happen, and in return, I will be more…) is something thatis “new” to me. However, I understandthis approach. Bydefinition, Lim (2013) explained that bargaining involves trying to negotiateor bargain in an attempt to prolong accepting the reality of the loss. Onehas to realize that grieving a loss is a no-win situation and bargaining takes away from what is reality(i.e.
, has happened) and move forward. The thirdphase of grief involves bouts of depression (Lim, 2013; Smith et al., 2017).
Smaldoneand Uzzo (2013) stated that the depression phase of grief might lead “to concerns regarding the negative effect thatquality reporting might have on autonomy, referral patterns, financialstability, and future litigation risk” (p. 426). One believes that having others as a support system to help get through the depression is a plus.
Lastly, the acceptancestage entails accepting and making peace with the loss (Lim, 2013; Smaldone & Uzzo, 2013). Smith et al. (2017) insinuated that allpeople do not make it this stage of grieving because they are stuck in otherstages (e.g.
, anger or depression). However, one feels it is important to accept losses but appreciate thememorable (or not so) experiences.Personal Experience with Mourning andGrief When grief hits home, it feels like a serious illness. One still feels emotionally and physically drained at times, along with symptoms (e.g., Headache or chest pains).
I am thankful that I am aware of these symptoms and they shall pass with time. Earlier thisyear, I lost a life-long friend toPancreatic Cancer and mygrandmother three days before Christmas 2017. The loss of someone close to uscan quickly turn our world upside down into an unfamiliar place. Adapting to or coping with death can be depressive and somber. It could beassumed that is easier to grieve when one understands the grieving process, butit is not that easy. Somepeople may never tap into certain emotions (e.
g.,anger or guilt) until they beginto mourn a loss. However, one may should learnto recognize ways to avoid the angry thoughts or feeling of guilt duringmournful times. Halperin(2013) encourages one to seek professional help when coping with grief, whenneeded. Rapid emotions may be running through one’s head, but one mustremember that taking care of thyself throughout the grief and bereavementprocess is also vital (Halperin, 2013; Smith et al., 2017).
Summary. In alifetime, one witnessed a few people being taking advantage of after the deathof a loved one. One of my neighborsdescribed a situation that took place years ago and it dealt with him feelingleft out of the planning of his grandfather’s funeral. He felt that he was entitled to help becausehe grandfather was the only positive male role model in his life. Needless to say, he claimed his family tookadvantage of him because he was 19 years old at time. They did not allow his input in the funeraland they did not share any of the insurance collected after his loved one’sdeath (D. McCoy, personal communication, December 23, 2017). So, one may ask how do we prepare for an unexpected death.
One way isplanning ahead. Cultural & EthnicBurial Rituals Burial ceremonieshave been a long standing tradition in human culture (Bahar, Be?er, Ersin,K?ssal, & Aydo?du, 2012; Davies & Galloway, 2011; Seiuli, 2017). Bahar et al. (2012) stated that preparing fordeath, burial practices, and bereavement behaviors represent significanttransition periods of life. Although communities experience death and bereavementperiods on a regular basis, Seiuli (2017) argued burial rituals varyfrom by culture. As an example, peoplein many Samoan communities in New Zealand come together as a community tocreate a “memorable” event celebrating the life of the deceased (Seiuli, 2017).Years ago, I worked as amakeup artist at a funeral home. One dayI overheard the director of the establishment tell a family that pre-burialplans were less expensive than planning for a funeral after unexpected deceasedperson has gone to glory (i.
e., died). One may know people who left asafety net (e.g., a will or insurance policy) to pay for his/her funeral or final arrangements. A closefriend, who grew up in a Baptist household, recently succumbed to cancer. The funeral service was officiated by a pastor who preached about the joyoustimes and encouraged those in attendance to focus on the life her life and herreturn to God. My grandmother alsorecently passed away.
She was not only aloving mother and an awesome grandmother, but also a pillar of the communityshe served. My grandmother was a devoutChristians who practiced what she preached. For example, she valued education so much that she earned a Bachelor’sdegree at 75 years old. Her passion foreducation motivated me to pursue this degree. Similar to Samoan communities (see Seiuli, 2017),people near and far came together as a community to celebrate my grandmother’slife.
It was greatseeing her children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-greatchildren gather with her church family, neighbors, and others honoring her bysharing stories of how she inspired them in some way. Conversely, burial rituals (e.g., funerals)may differ from culture to culture.
Somecultures (e.g., people in Jewish and African American communities) preparethe deceased body by bathing it and burningfrankincense to avoid evil spirits (Bahar et al., 2012). Whereas, practicing Buddhists do not have anyspecial way of preparing or burying the lifeless corpse of a loved one (Baharet al., 2012).
Legal and Political IncentivesIn 2014, the National Funeral Directors Association (2017) explained that the averagecost of a funeral was at least $8,000, which may be costly to somepeople. One believes that it is vital to have a legal will and an insurance policy. No one should be able to attest thesedocuments if they are done legally or through the courts. As mentioned earlier, options(e.g., buying pre-paid burial plan) could also make planning the finalarrangements much easier as well. In thepast, one worked for a funeral home that allow families to make paymentsinstallments for final expenses until everything is paid in full. The paymentarrangement was an excellentoption, especially for peopleon a fixed income or who just did not have the money.
Anotherprecautionary to have in case of an unexpected death is to have joint accounts and or accounts that are payable upon death(Funeral Wise, 2017). For people with no childrenor immediate family members,planning or preparing ahead for a funeral is even more vital. Onemay authorize an official of thecourt (e.g.
, a lawyer or a judge) toallocate assets described inthe will and last testament or insurance policy. When no will or last testament exist, the courtcould make an unanimously decision about the fate of the deceased loved one’sestate causing problem betweensome families. Thus, it iscrucial to leave a legal ‘will and last testament’ before something unexpected happens.NormalcyDepending onthe circumstances, one may assume that going back to a normallife after a loved one’s death is like putting pieces to a broken puzzle back together. Halperin (2013) and Smith et al.
(2017)implied that it may take a while for some people to get back to a normal lifeafter losing something special (e.g., a loved one or a beloved pet).
Understanding how to cope with a death might help determine how soon a person gets back to normal after aloss. Research (“Moving forward,” 2017) suggested that energy that one puts into mourning a loss should be redirected to something else (e.g., another familymember or pet). Learning howto cope after a death mightalso give one the strengthto help others grievers during a loss of a loved one. The first step is recognizing the stages and symptoms of the grieving process (Kübler-Ross& Kessler, 2014; Smith et al., 2017). One aspect of grief involvesaccepting the fact that the decreased person is no longer here on earth.
Next, take the time to experienceor deal with the pain and symptoms of grief (Smith et al., 2017). One must also learn not to bottle up emotions. Additionally, one should fill the voidby channeling that energy into special positive that pay homage to the deceased. Self-reflection: Death andDryingCaring for a sick family member or friend can be full-time job. It couldalso affect can be one’s thoughts, body, and spirit.
At some pointwhile mourning one might hear the old cliché we are “alivetoday, but our time will come.” These sentiments seem soothing, but accepting them may seemeasier said than done. Deathis one of the clearest truthsof human reality; however, no one truly understands it (Bahar et al.
, 2012; Halperin, 2013; Smith et al.,2017). Personally, I do notunderstand why certain culturehave funerals or home-going services? Throughout my life, I attended various funerals andmost seems inhumane.
For example,some people not only see thebody of the decrease but also take pictures with the decreased person in thecasket. I have heard stories and witnessed peopletrying to get over into the coffin of the deceased, turning the coffin over,and even delay the funeral procession because they could not accept the factthat a person has died. Children can also be traumatized by what they see at the funeral (e.g.
,a mutilated corpse or a fight over who views the body). One has also been tofunerals that seem to be goingwell until someone literally falls out causing a huge scene during the service. Someone I know took an alternative route whenit came to his family member’s home-going services.He imposedvarious rules that everyone in attendance had to follow. His unorthodox method encourages me to createthe following rules any funeral that I plan. The following statements reflect one proposed rules: 1. No viewing of the body beforethe burial.
2. No funeral…too costly. It is also too easy for funeral directors to take financial advantage of people havenot planned a funeral by offering other unnecessary services (e.g., 3 for 1burial plots).3. A graveside service just longenough for the minister to say Ashes-ashes and dust to dust. It’s a dead body;there is nothing more that needs to be done.
4. The cheapest way to burywould be a pinebox…$300-easy on the wallet.5. No fashionable obituary will be another way to cut cost.
Spread the word via by social media or bymouth.Going through the grieving process is something that we don’t have to gothrough alone. There are support groups that one can reach out to seekhelp. And now in the era of theinternet, there are support and other related groups that one can access onlineand the good part about it is that you don’t have to see anyone face-to-face(“Moving forward,” 2017).Cultural and Ethical TraditionResearch(Bahar et al., 2012; Brooten et al.
, 2016; Sakakeeny, 2011; Turner,2009) suggested that every culture has traditions when it comes to grieving andmourning the death of a loved one. Baharet al. (2012), in particular, alleged it is tradition for the family of thedeceased in Islamic cultures to wear black to a funeral because it shows sorrow. During thebereavement period, Brooten et al. (2016) explained Latino families do notattend social events, watch TV, or listen to the radio during the mourningperiod.
It is also tradition for AfricanAmericans in New Orleans to celebrate a person’s death with an infamous “second-line”parade (Sakakeeny, 2011; Turner, 2009). Some Protestants and Jamaicans do not allowpregnant women to attend funerals because it is theirbelief that the lifeless corpse may release toxins (Bahar etal., 2012).Duringslavery, it was common for the enslaved African-Americans happily and jubilantly came together tocelebrate the life of their decreased loved ones (Woods-Valentine Mortuary, 2017). Slaves hoped to return to their homeland of Africa, but it did not happen. so Death was also seen as a relieffrom the agony and humiliation of slavery (Woods-Valentine Mortuary, 2017).
Slaves looked forward to leavingtheir raggedy shacks for their “mansion in the sky.” (Woods-Valentine Mortuary,2017). Conclusion In summation, each death or loss is not the same. When one of my cousins was murdered, I fell into a deep depression because he always supported me. I lost a close friend to Pancreatic Cancer earlier this year and it also took my breathway. Nothing could have prepared me tolost my grandmother three days before Christmas 2017.
She played an integral role in not only mylife but also the lives of people around her. Additionally, one of mybest friends from childhood passed away earlier this year. Losing her has been very trying for mebecause we have been through so many things together. I really miss her. She was my closest ally and strongest supporter outside of my immediatefamily.
Word cannot describe how I feelright now. To be honest, I do not knowhow I am going make it through this program with my best friend’s support. Her sweet, kind, and uplifting words broughtme through so many situations. I guess Iwill find the strength to continue with this degree in her memory, may she restin peace.Considering there is no best way to handle losing someone close, itreally is a matter of what resources one has to get through what can be alengthy and drawn out the grieving process. Perhaps the best way to describe itis: It can leave you numb. Having support when it comes to hearing the newsthat someone has passed away to making burial arrangement to getting throughthe grieving process is so important for those left behind.
It is some consolation seeing and having thechoice of keeping things straightforward and easy when choosing to have amemorial service rather than the old traditional funeral.