Grief Therapy in Philadelphia / Loss of Someone You Know: Death Dying & Loss

When you lose someone close, it can be a difficult and devastating experience. You might feel confused or have hard time accepting the loss.  At every turn you may hear the person’s voice, or feel the person’s presence.  You may feel nothing, in fact you may experience numbness and simply nothingness.  Grief comes in all shapes, sizes and forms.  However, with that being said most people who experience the grieving process can identify some of the following stages:

* Disbelief or distress stage : loss of someone you know – You don’t believe that someone you cared about and loved has passed away.  During this stage you may be saying to yourself phrases such as “He/she is not gone, he/she will be back” or “ I didn’t even get a chance to say good-bye”
* Denial Stage: loss of someone you know– You do not believe that this is really happening.  You may feel as if the person is still alive.  In your head you may be saying over and over, “No, he/she is not dead!” or “ He/she could never leave me.”
* Bargaining Stage: loss of someone you know - After the acceptance of the death of a loved one, you may begin to bargain with him or her.  For instance, “if you return _____, I will stop smoking.” Or “can you take my life instead?”
* Guilt Stage: Loss of someone you know - During this stage you might be experiencing guilt, regret or even feel responsible for the loved one’s death.  When you feel guilty, you blame yourself.  For instance, “if I was there, he/she wouldn’t be gone.” Or you may feel bad that you were the one that survived while the other person didn’t. 
* Anger Stage: Loss of someone you know – During this phase you may experience anger towards the person who died for abandoning you and leaving you to face the situation alone.  You may even question why the person would suddenly leave you.  You might find yourself being angry with those who try to console you.  You may be thinking to yourself, “They have no right to leave me!” or “don’t he/she understand what he/she is putting me through?”
* Depression Stage: Loss of someone you know – During this stage you may simply find yourself experiencing depression.  In some ways this is a critical stage because it can allow someone to be lost in their own thoughts.  Depression left along may turn towards thoughts of suicide.  Thus, this stage may require professional intervention.  A person who is depressed may consider suicide as a viable way to see their loved ones again. Depression may take on the form of change in appetite, sleep patterns and behaviors.  For more information on this subject, please click on depression. 
* Acceptance Stage: Loss of someone you know – During this sate, you mind and body accept the death of your loved one.  You finally realized he/she is actually gone and have gone to a better place.  You hope they are happy wherever they are after death. You will remember all the memories you had together.

Interestingly, even if one goes through all the stages of grief and loss, and different stages the death of a loved one may be experienced all over again. For example, if your best friend unexpectedly died when you were in high school, at the point that you are ready to get married, you may experience her loss all over again because she will not be around to be your maid of honor, or the God-parent of your child. 

If you have a friend who has lost someone and want to help them through this event, look for some the stages of grief above.  Being a friend of someone who has experienced a loss of a special person can be a difficult task.

First, you have to understand that losing someone is different from losing a toy. Start out with sympathetic words.  If the person likes physical touch (or is open to it): offer a hug, hold their hands, and provide a shoulder to cry on are positive ways of showing support.  Let them know you will be there to listen and if there’s anything they might need.  For instance, if they are too busy organizing the funeral; propose to help them pick up some groceries or anything needed in the house.

Do not start consoling the person by saying death is part of life and everyone dies eventually.  At this stage those words, while true, are not particularly helpful and may even be experienced as hurtful, especially if the person has recently passed away.

If you or your friend has difficult accepting the death or loss of someone, a grief therapist in Philadelphia specializing in grief may be helpful. However, others prefer the solace of close friends and family.  There is no one right way to grieve.  Each person has to find their own way. Help is available. 267-324 - 9564.