This text explains the seven different stages of grief that people go through when they have lost someone close to them.
“SHOCK & DENIAL- You will probably react to learning of the loss with numbed disbelief. You may deny the reality of the loss at some level, in order to avoid the pain. Shock provides emotional protection from being overwhelmed all at once. This may last for weeks.
PAIN & GUILT-
As the shock wears off, it is replaced with the suffering of unbelievable pain. Although excruciating and almost unbearable, it is important that you experience the pain fully, and not hide it, avoid it or escape from it with alcohol or drugs.You may have guilty feelings or remorse over things you did or didn’t do with your loved one. Life feels chaotic and scary during this phase.
ANGER & BARGAINING-
Frustration gives way to anger, and you may lash out and lay unwarranted blame for the death on someone else. Please try to control this, as permanent damage to your relationships may result. This is a time for the release of bottled up emotion.You may rail against fate, questioning “Why me?” You may also try to bargain in vain with the powers that be for a way out of your despair (“I will never drink again if you just bring him back”)
Just when your friends may think you should be getting on with your life, a long period of sad reflection will likely overtake you. This is a normal stage of grief, so do not be “talked out of it” by well-meaning outsiders. Encouragement from others is not helpful to you during this stage of grieving.During this time, you finally realize the true magnitude of your loss, and it depresses you. You may isolate yourself on purpose, reflect on things you did with your lost one, and focus on memories of the past. You may sense feelings of emptiness or despair.
THE UPWARD TURN-
As you start to adjust to life without your dear one, your life becomes a little calmer and more organized. Your physical symptoms lessen, and your “depression” begins to lift slightly.
RECONSTRUCTION & WORKING THROUGH-
As you become more functional, your mind starts working again, and you will find yourself seeking realistic solutions to problems posed by life without your loved one. You will start to work on practical and financial problems and reconstructing yourself and your life without him or her.
ACCEPTANCE & HOPE-
During this, the last of the seven stages in this grief model, you learn to accept and deal with the reality of your situation. Acceptance does not necessarily mean instant happiness. Given the pain and turmoil you have experienced, you can never return to the carefree, untroubled YOU that existed before this tragedy. But you will find a way forward.You will start to look forward and actually plan things for the future. Eventually, you will be able to think about your lost loved one without pain; sadness, yes, but the wrenching pain will be gone. You will once again anticipate some good times to come, and yes, even find joy again in the experience of living.”
I want to use these ‘seven stages’ as marking points throughout my final images. I intend to use this as a reference, and have an image that represents each stage and set of emotions.
As part of my research, I also found an article written by Katie Hopkins in the daily mail where she discusses the pain of loosing someone and who it can make you feel. She says that, “It seems like grief can be like arthritis. Burning away at your bones, flaring up to cripple you, soothed occasionally by the warmth of another.” I found this metaphor for who grief can make you feel to be true, It can feel like it is taking over your whole body, it not only emotional pain but the physical pain of complete despair. However in saying this, there are over aspects to grief that aren’t all about pain and heartache, the memories we hold of our family and loved ones can never be taken away, and can be bought back to us at any moment. It is surprising what reminds you of a person once they are gone.”Loved ones are never far away to the people they leave behind. They are just around the corner, just next door, in the smell of their favourite perfume or soundtrack of their favourite film.” Part of the acceptance that someone is gone is remembering them in positive ways, it’s not all about mourning and sadness, the happy memories will always be with you and can be triggered by the smallest of things. Although the process of grief is never the same for each different person, I think that you have to have been through it to understand it, you could never fully explain to pain to someone who hasn’t experienced it themselves. “I had come to believe most people seem to reach a similar destination, an end point where life can go on, memories are fond but tears still fall freely at their recollection.” I will use the points made in this article to help me express the ways that we are affected by grief, it has given me a stronger understanding of the different emotions and phases people go throw, and helped understand the ways that it affects other people not just myself.
“For those who understand, no explanation is needed. For those who do not understand, no explanation is possible.”- Anonymous.
“Grief is not a disorder, a disease or a sign of weakness. It is an emotional, physical and spiritual necessity, the price you pay for love. The only cure for grief is to grieve.”- Earl Grollman.
“No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear.”-C.S. Lewis.
These quotes written about grief express the different emotions felt and are beautifully put into words. I chose these quotes to look at because they after reading them, they all meant something to me. The first one made me realise that if someone asked me what grief was like that would be my answer. Before last year I had never lost anyone close to me, and since then I have lost 4. Never until this point did I realise quite how loosing someone makes you feel. It is something that you can never understand until you feel it yourself, but the people who have also been through it are the ones who know how to comfort you best. The second quote, by Earl Grollman, struck me because I myself trie dot ignore grief, for a long time I tried to act like nothing had happened and I soon found out that this is not the correct way to deal with it. Once I had accepted that my loved one had gone I was able to move on and grieve with the rest of my family, hiding from grief only makes it worse. The last quote also touched me in a similar way to the second one, there is a fear that once you start to grieve you will begin to forget the person you lost. I found that the fear of forgetting was stronger than I could have ever imagined and once you realise that you have too many memories to forget you can get closure and start to move on.
I chose to look for quotes about grief to see the way that other people have represented it. It is interesting to see how other people express the pain that they went or are going through, and I will use this when expressing these emotions in my own work.