Whether it’s the families of the passengers of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 or of those killed at Ft. Hood or of the children who died in a fiery bus crash near Sacramento, not to mention the families of soldiers continuing to die on active duty or by suicide back home, there is no shortage of grieving people left behind.
Being grief stricken is the feeling that something has been taken or even ripped away from your being after a tragedy or death or some other horrendous situation. Grieving is the process where that wound no matter how deep or devastating begins to heal.
The stages of grief can be remembered by the term PDR. In this case, it doesn’t stand for Physician’s Desk Reference that you will see in nearly every doctor’s office. It stands for – Protest, Depression, Resolution.
Protest – When something tragic and unexpected and that you are not prepared for happens, the first reaction is one of Protest. That is when you’re thinking or saying, “It didn’t happen,” “No, that’s just a rumor,” “It’s impossible, I just saw them yesterday,” etc. This is the stage where your mind and understanding of the world cannot and will not conceive that a tragedy has taken place. Imagine that your thinking (human), feeling (mammalian), and actional (reptile) brains are all lined up and unable to shift from what they believe to what really is.
Depression – This starts to occur when the truth settles in that this was not a rumor or a bad dream. It really happened. And the thought of going on or getting past it is inconceivable. That stuckness often coincides with depression, because it is as if a broken record keeps playing your head and heart saying over and over again, “They’re dead, they’re dead, they’re dead.” And each time you think and have to feel that message is like a sledgehammer slamming into you stomach, which may explain the nausea people feel (and you might even be feeling as you read this and remember such times in your life).
Resolution – This is when you know you’ll realize it is not the beginning of the end and that you’ll get past it. Prolonged grief is when you remain stuck not getting past it or a milder version is that you get past it, but you don’t get over it.
What are some of the ways to make it through grief and past it and hopefully even over it?
Just because you don’t think you’ll get past or over it doesn’t mean you won’t. If you just let time pass and don’t do anything to make it worse, your mind and brain and life will usually find a way to get back on track.