Grieving is healthy, normal

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By Jonah Moyo

WE live in tempestuous times and people are dying due to COVID-19. Death is one unavoidable fate, but it is still hard to handle and understand.  Death is even more painful when one loses a close relative.

Psychologists come to the conclusion that grieving is healthy, it’s a normal act and it brings closure and healing. In this article, I discuss five stages of grieving that were tabulated by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross. Kubler is the author of an internationally best-selling book titled, On Death and Dying (1969). It is in this book where she first discussed her theory of the five stages of grief, which is also famously known as the Kubler-Ross model.

The five stages are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. These stages help us to deal with loss and death. Secondly, they help us know the stage we are in of the grieving process.

Denial

This is the first stage of grief. As the word says, we are in rejection (contradiction or refutation) of what has happened. At this stage, the world becomes meaningless and we often become numb. When we receive the sad news of death, at times we wish someone would call and say the person has resurrected or it was just a mistake. We are shocked and overwhelmingly confused. Shock hits us hard, but it is a process towards healing. As time goes we begin to accept what has happened.

Anger

Anger is also one emotion that some people go through in the grieving process. When my mother passed on recently, I became angry that the doctor should have done more and better. I also was angry why some family members did not come through to help as I was looking after my mother who was in pain. Some become angry at the government which has not invested in its health facilities. At times, you ask why it has happened to you. We simply find something or someone to blame. All these are emotional forms of anger that are also necessary as we go through the grieving process and towards our healing.

Bargaining

During the illness of that loved one, you will bargain that if they heal, you will do something better for them than you used to. If you are a Christian or a religious persona you start to negotiate with God, they should be healed and you will do something more. This stage is dominated by phrases such as, “If only…or “What if…” In other terms, we will be trying to negotiate ourselves out of pain.

Depression

At this stage, we feel as though we have been left alone and we want to be alone. Depression is a feeling of sadness, misery, sorrow, gloom, melancholy, dejection, and despondency. It always feels as though it will last forever, but it is important in the grieving process and towards healing.

Acceptance

This is when we accept the reality of death or the passing on of our loved ones. Secondly, we begin to accept and even create the reality of a new life without them. It is at this stage  that we should learn to live in the new norm, live again and enjoy life without the loved ones. Also, we should find ways of replacing what we have lost with new meaningful relationships and connections. At this stage, we grow out of our sorrow and we evolve or transition into a new normal.

It’s never easy to lose a loved one. We ask why has happened to me? We ask innumerable questions. Death is not a new thing, but it still remains a mystery. Jeremy Camp gives us hope through his song when he sings:

I try to hold on to this world With everything I have But I feel the weight of what it brings

And the hurt that tries to grab The many trials that seem to never end His word declares this truth 

That we will enter in this rest With wonders anew But I hold on to this hope And the promise that He brings That there will be a place with no more suffering

There will be a day with no more tears No more pain and no more fears

There will be a day 

When the burdens of this place

Will be no more

We’ll see Jesus face to face

But until that day

We’ll hold on to you always

  • Jonah Nyoni is an author, speaker, and leadership trainer. Twitter@jonahnyoni. Whatsapp: +263 772 581 918