5 Things You May Feel When You’ve Lost A Loved One
It’s hard to get over the loss of a loved one, but we try. And according to psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, there are usually five things you may feel. Scroll the gallery to learn more.
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An earlier version of this article first appeared in the April 2018 issue of CLEO magazine.
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A sudden passing can put you in shock. And even if the passing of a loved one was expected – like if they had been terminally ill – you may be unable to come to terms with it immediately.
“It’s common to feel like life is meaningless when you’re grieving,” says Jessica Lamb, psychotherapist at Relationship Matters. “It can be hard to make sense of the huge change, and denial is a way of numbing yourself from the pain. It’s the mind’s natural survival reaction.”
You may feel abandoned or outraged by how unfair things are. If the death could have been prevented, you may also feel anger towards whoever you feel was responsible.
This is actually a good thing – “Anger is healthy as it enables you to begin to get in touch with your emotions. It’ll allow you to dig deeper and get in touch with more vulnerable emotions such as pain and sadness,” says Jessica.
To try and make sense of what happened, you may feel like if you had done something differently, there might have been a different conclusion.
“Bargaining allows you to avoid the pain of the ‘what ifs’ and ‘if onlys’ (like, ‘If only I had insisted he see the doctor sooner’). It’s the mind’s way of trying to learn from what happened, and to ensure it doesn’t ever happen again,” says Jessica.
Being in a deep state of sadness may make you feel like there’s no point to anything. Feeling this way is completely normal .
“When the loss sinks in, people often feel very empty and exhausted. But acknowledging depressing episodes during the grieving process helps you recognise the truth about your loss and your emotions [such as the feeling of emptiness],” says Jessica.
This doesn’t mean you’re OK with the situation, but you’ve accepted the fact that they’re gone and that this will now be the norm that you’ll have to live with.
“It’s often seen as the final stage of grief as, at this point, a person has come to terms with the changes in their life. But they may at times still feel angry or sad that their loved one is gone,” says Jessica.