Tips for Managing Grief When Facing the Death of a Loved One

    Every death generates a deep pain or emotional imbalance that must be faced in an appropriate way, through the elaboration of the grieving process

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    The death of a loved one is a stake to the heart that generates a deep emotional wound and that we must help to heal. We are all going to die at some point, that is the law of life. However, working through the grieving process is the only thing that will allow us to restructure our emotional balance.

    Grief in the face of a death due to illness is handled very differently from that generated by a sudden or unexpected death, since the first, being preceded, allows those close to rationalize the loss little by little, while the second does not.

    “A person in mourning is a subject who is in the process of a strong emotional imbalance. Therefore, he/she is a person who needs adequate accompaniment to avoid re-victimization and unsolicited advice, because at that precise moment they make no sense of needing help in the process”, commented Álvaro Solano, director of Psychology at Fidelitas University.

    Different forms of expression

    “It is important to understand that mourners can have many reactions with different degrees of intensity. We could find behaviors with very exasperated and uncontrollable crying, as well as very passive people, demonstrating total tranquility,” explained Solano, who added that “both behaviors are normal in the shock or denial stage of the grieving process.”

    Grief must be lived without any type of repression

    It is recommended that, during the grieve, the person be permissive with their feelings. This painful process cannot be elaborated by repressing everything you think and feel, much less limiting yourself by a belief or by social pressure.

    “The grieve must be lived, giving ourselves the time that is necessary, crying as much as the body requires, because when a person chooses to repress their feelings, they are giving rise to symptoms or the presence of anxiety or panic attacks”. emphasized the psychology professional. In some cases, it is important to seek help from specialized therapists and support from people you trust, as well as trying to do relaxation and distraction activities.

    Costa Rica

    In Costa Rica there are several organizations that offer free psychological support through workshops, talks and telephone assistance to help channel emotions. One of them is the line 800-AMANECE (800-2626-323) from La Piedad.

    Tips for companions

    • Avoid trying to understand or empathize with someone else’s pain, because no one understands the pain that the subject is feeling.
    • Do not try to give advice or encouragement based on personal beliefs or thoughts (they are resting, let them go, they are with God, they are not suffering anymore, etc.)
    • Never repress the emotions of the mourner, give them the opportunity to feel free to express what they think and feel.
    • Avoid asking the cause and manner of death, unless the mourner does so on his own, it could be his way of venting.
    • A good companion is someone who has the ability to listen and comfort, without the need to give advice.
    • Avoid laughter, jokes with attendees, as well as topics that exalt emotions such as football, politics and religion.
    • Do not take photos during the candlelight or funeral. Be careful what you post online.

    About the stages of grief

    According to the different literatures, there are up to 10 stages of mourning with different names, but in the end they all fall within the same (anger, depression, guilt, negotiation, acceptance, etc.).

    What must be clear about grief is that the stages are not resolved in chronological order, that is, the mourner does not start and finish each of the phases to continue with the next.

    “In reality, the stages will be presented in a very fluctuating way, like a swing. The mourner could be in an initial phase today, but the other week he could enter a final, and later fall in the middle facet, and then fall back in an initial phase, “said Álvaro Solano.

    “As I mentioned before – reiterated the director of Psychology of Fidélitas – the most important thing is that the mourner is given the opportunity to experience and express each of the emotions that will arise at each stage.”

    How long should the grieve last?

    Talking about a time to elaborate a mourning process is not healthy, since all these painful moments are individual and will depend on the bond that each person has with the deceased. Therefore, there are individuals who could do it more or less time.

    “There are literatures that mention that a mourn should be elaborated in a period of up to 2 years. However, it is not prudent to consider that this is true, since there are mourners who can remain in a stage of denial for a long time (years) and with the passage of time, they manage to resolve the process,” said the director of Psychology of Fidélitas.

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