The Process of Grieving

Ariane Gauthier

Grief is a reaction and a feeling of sadness experienced following the death of a loved one. Often associated with suffering, grief is also considered a necessary process of deliverance, called resilience.

There are normal emotions you can feel when you lose someone. Intense emotions like shock, anger, resentment, sadness, guilt, relief, despair, thinking a lot about the person who is missing from your life, thinking about your relationship with them, and worrying about what life will be like without them. You can also feel physical reactions such as stomach upset, muscle tension, crying, changes in sleeping or eating habits, exhaustion, or difficulty concentrating.

Learning that a friend or loved one has committed suicide is often very traumatic. This adds another level of pain and questioning to the experience of loss, which can complicate the grieving process. The shock is sometimes so great, and the acceptance so difficult, that we react with denial.

A grieving process is usually more intense at first, but it depends on how close you were to the person and your relationship with him or her. However, sometimes the shock of the loss is so great that it takes a long time to realize it, delaying the processing of grief. Either way, the grieving process is long. It allows us to live with our loss while we learn to live without the loved one. Grieving can be a painful experience that is sometimes experienced in isolation. Often, even friends aren’t sure what to do to help or comfort them.

There is no right or wrong way to grieve, but some ways may be more helpful than others. For example, the use of alcohol or drugs may mask the pain for a while, but it delays the healing process and can cause direct damage. Likewise, it’s one thing to feel angry, but it’s another to blame others or yourself. There are positive ways to express pain and anger and then feel good.