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Past, sociological and lawful actions influence our comprehension ofgrief and loss. Burial is a lawful action, which enables mourners toaccept the reality of death, progress towards the sorrow, recalls theindividual that passed away, widen one’s self identity and receivecounsel from others. Important funeral events act as an importantperiod of departure for comprehending the loss. Intellectually,funeral informs that someone adored is gone, though denial may havecropped up prior to the burial. People express emotions duringburials by crying as they compel the mourner to focus on the realityand feelings. The mourner starts to embrace the pain and acceptanceis apparent after the burial.
Past events make it possible to comprehend that death is permanent,and we might not be able to see the person again. For instance, anindividual that has previously lost a loved one, and suffers the sameloss again is in a better position to comprehend the permanence ofthe loss. This means that past events prepare us for the griefphases, in case the loss recurs. Leming and Dickinson (2011), providethe illustration of a past event like through memorials. The authorsnote that memorials happen where a brutal death occurred, as theSeptember 11 attacks. It acts as a link amid the departed’spersonal life, as well as the impersonal location.
Sociological events assist mourners to grieve the departure of aloved one. These could include events like gatherings to celebratethe life of a loved one who has died. Group events avail strength tothe persons in sorrow. For instance, after the passing away of apolice official, colleagues attend the burial. In their largenumbers, they communicate that although one of them has left, theywill progress to support the family grieving the deceased. They alsomourn together with the family. Death instruction also avails achance to familiarize the issues surrounding grief and loss (Leming &Dickinson, 2011).
“A Grief Observed” refers to C. Lewis reflections of loss. Thewife passed away following three years of marriage due to cancer. Thebook accounts for incidents and emotions that he experiences justafter the loss. Lewis openly explains his ensuing anger andbewilderment towards God, and his outlook of life on how to survivewithout a wife (Lewis, 1961). Using Kubler-Ross’s premise it ispossible to analyze the book. The book brings to light the stagesthat people undergo following the loss of a loved one. Lewis writingon grief illustrates Kubler-Ross’s grief stages. The first stageinvolves denial, which is a cognizant or unaware rebuttal ofaccepting facts or actuality concerning a situation. All through hisreflection, Lewis clearly explains instances when he failed tobelieve that his wife was dead. He notes that although he knew hiswife was going to die, he did not believe it when it finallyhappened. Having married Joy when she was suffering from cancer itwas obvious that she would not live long. However, Lewis fell intodenial and begun to question God, after his wife’s death, which heattributes to the direct impact the loss had on his life (Lewis,1961).
Even after questioning God and failing to believe that his wife wasdead, Lewis could not get answers to the questions he often askedhimself. He felt that his life had been harmed. For instance, in hiswriting, he notes, “at times it feels like being mildly drunk, orconcussed. There is a sort of invisible blanket between the world andme” (Lewis, 1961). Kubler-Ross explains this as an anger stage ofsorrow. During the phase, individuals may become angry withthemselves, or people close to them. Lewis was unable to believe inwhat other people said, as he was angry with himself and others. Heargues that no one seemed to understand his emotions, or experience.Throughout the book, Lewis brings out the grief phases of depressionand acceptance as evaluated by Kubler-Ross. Depression, also regardedas introductory grieving, is a type of acceptance that involves anemotional connection.
The individuals suffering from loss expresses sadness, regret,apprehension and indecision. It demonstrates that the individual hasstarted to accept the actuality. As a Christian, Lewis does notabandon his attachment to God. Helpful declarations as “So this iswhat God is really like after all” (Lewis, 1961) fill the book.This happens as Lewis allows himself to move away from deceit andstruggle with the loss and lack of comprehension. Acceptance is asignificant phase for all individuals suffering from loss and grief.The book provides readers with a feeling of shortcoming about thehuman experience. It acts as an important reminder of life’s cyclethrough depiction that, although lives stop as expected, life anddevotion progress. Communication amid Lewis and the wife wereintimate depictions of union and reliance, but as well express thatthe two comprehend they could not be allowed to live happily foreverfollowing their marriage. The book was a depiction on affection andthe pain, which should be faced when a dear person dies.
Complicated grief regards to a forceful and prolonged type of grief,which overtakes an individual’s life (Kelly & Cooper, 1990). Itis normal to face intense grief following the loss of a close person.However, when grief is complicated, it is impossible to accept theloss even after time has passed. For most individuals, grief neverfades away totally but with time, healing reduces the pain.Reflections and recollections of the dead are intertwined in anindividual’s mind, but do not take over one’s life, as is thecase with complicated grief. The phrase complicated regards toaspects, which impede the natural healing procedure (Kelly &Cooper, 1990). They may be linked to traits of the bereavedindividual, temperament of the association with the dead individual,situations resulting to the loss, or issues that emerged followingthe loss.
Intrapsychic models concentrate on the internal psychologicalprocedures of an individual (Kelly & Cooper, 1990). The modelscan be used in providing assistance during grief counseling. In mostinstances, people with complicated grief are usually depressed. Thegroup of intrapsychic models of depression is wide, involvingcognitive model and psychodynamic premise. During grief counseling,the counselor needs to focus on the unconscious mental procedures ofthe patient. This is because the unconscious causes the person tolong for the unachievable. Together with the patient, the counselorstructures thinking and the patient is able to relate to the currentsituation and accept the loss. The counselor psychologically reachesto the patient’s body, mind and spirit, systematically alteringtheir depression into acceptance.
Children’s comprehension of grief happens in stages. As childrenbecome older, they are in a better position to understand loss, whichmirrors their cognitive development. In general, cognitivedevelopment differs with age, and as people become older, they are ina better position to understand loss and how it happens (Dyregrov,2008). During infancy to two years, children might look for the deadand become worried of the loss. Reactions could be throughirritability, crying and alteration in sleeping behaviors. In thepreschool stage, grief is short lived though can be strong. It iswhen children begin to trust and become attached to others hence,when someone important passes away, separation becomes a majorconcern. Children also react emotionally to emotions exhibited bygrownups. For instance, if a mother cries due to the husband’sloss, the child may also begin to cry (Dyregrov, 2008). Griefinvolves confusion, apprehension and regressive conduct likeisolation from other people. The reaction is dependable on thechildren’s cognitive development at this phase. It may emerge fromincapability to understand the permanence of dying.
In early childhood, children search and ask about the dead. Recurringquestions concerning passing away are also common, like whereindividuals live after dying. At times children may not react,because they are unable to cognitively comprehend the loss. Themiddle years frequently involve concern over other person’sreactions to the loss. Focus is more towards others than self(Dyregrov, 2008). Children also become apprehensive that anotherloved one might die. There may be cases of lost concentration,especially when at school and regression to a previous growth phase.Children in middle year might presume the function of the dead, likelooking after siblings. They might copy what the dead used to do as away of continuing the association. During pre-adolescence, childrenhave cognitively developed to a stage where they can differentiatereality from imagination. They might respond to grief through hidingfeelings due to apprehension that expressing feelings could be anindication of weakness. Uncharacteristic manners of expressing lossare common, like getting angry fast, bullying conduct and angeroutburst (Dyregrov, 2008).
Kaplow et al (2012) mention factors, which enhance the peril fordelayed grief in children. These include the constant desire for thedead. Because of the evolving comprehension of the nature, as well aseternalness of loss, young children might depict marked behavioraldepictions of alienation suffering and meeting fantasies. Youngchildren might emphasize on standing close to the door waiting forthe dead to come back. Deep pain in children might be apparentirregularly through an ostensibly normal mood. Given theirpredisposition to concentrate on their direct outward surrounding andhardships with verbally communicating their interior mood, sorrow maybe specifically challenging to recognize in young children. Deep painlinked to the loss might be more apparent in children’s play, aswell as alienation-reunion conduct with caregivers.
Children might also tend to get preoccupied with the individuals thatpassed away. In children, preoccupation with the dead individualmight be via emphasis on sleeping in the dead’s bed, dressing intheir clothes, or depicting nervousness when compelled to stop usingan item that was owned by the dead. Preoccupation with the situationof the deceased might be obvious in children through reenacting theloss via play, or repeated sketching of an alarming image of thedecease. Children might have recurrent visions symbolized throughthemes of anticipation defense and repair where they fantasize whatmay have been done to avoid the passing away. A different familiarbehavioral expression of preoccupation with the death involvescomplaining about outward challenges, which are suggestive of how theindividual passed away.
In children, and specifically adolescents, maladaptive evaluation,concerning the dead seems to be relevant depictions of complicatedgrief. For instance, amid deceased adolescents, matters ofresponsibility were importantly linked with greater prolonged griefindicators. A majority of the factors evaluated seem to focus onbehavioral indicators. However, psychological indicators also play arole in enhancing the peril for prolonged grief. These are in form ofevading thoughts of the deceased and inability to communicateemotions. Research depicts those children who are capable ofexpressing their feelings verbally, with a caregiver are in a betterposition to handle the stress arising from the loss compared to thosethat cannot communicate. Another factor involves children losingmeaning of life due to the significance previously attached to thedead. In extreme cases, it might involve harboring thoughts of notfunctioning well without the deceased.
Kaplow et al (2012) also provide particular justification for notwaiting the normal 12 months prior to availing counseling to childrenthat seem to struggle with loss. The suggested criteria for“Adjustment Disorder Related to Bereavement” specify that theperson’s pain should happen at minimal 12 months after the passingaway of a close individual. The suggested period takes on aconventional standpoint in endeavoring to evade pathologizing theusual duration of mourning for most grownups, which may differsignificantly from one individual to another. Based on the up to dateabsence of longitudinal research concentrating on children’s sorrowreactions, it is hard to denote the post death period, which is mostimportant in categorizing disturbed mourning reactions amid youngones. Founded on empirical proof and development deliberations,Kaplow et al (2012) suggest four reasons for not waiting for the12-month period.
One, research depicts those children more probable to display gravepathological loss signs do so on the initial months after the loss.Second, research on teenage allies that committed suicide showed thatdelayed extreme grief reactions during six months foretold thebeginning or course of depression during later assessment periods.The ability to note manifestations of sorrow, which foretellunrelenting maladjustment highlight the bigger usefulness of shorttime duration contrasted to waiting for the 12-month period. Third,proof from child development studies shows that one year during achild’s development is a long period, which could represent a lostchance for timely remediation. Last, children depend on approachablecaregivers to help adapt to grief. The earlier the approach, theeasier children will manage to deal with the loss.
Dyregrov, A. (2008). Grief in children: A handbook for adults.London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.
Kaplow, J. B., Layne, C. M., Pynoos, R. S., Cohen, J. A &Lieberman, A. (2012). DSM-V Diagnostic Criteria forBereavement-Related Disorders in Children and Adolescents: Developmental Considerations. Psychiatry 75(3), 243-265.
Kelly, K & Cooper, A. M. (1990). Intrapsychic Models. TheDepressive Illness Series, 2, 79-91.
Leming, M. R., & Dickinson, G. E. (2011). Understanding dying,death, and bereavement. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.
Lewis, C. S. (1961). A Grief Observed. New York: HarperCollins.