Death of a loved one whether anticipated or sudden has huge impact on the bereaved. The pain may be immeasurable and no one can say (not even psychiatrists), which of the two is more devastating. The difference lies in the process of grieving. The acceptance stage is closer to those who were able to prepare for the death than on the bereaved experiencing a sudden loss.
The human mind is intelligent enough to process information but it is the heart which refuses to accept this same information. As such, we tend to rationalize the circumstances and events leading up to the death. A mother of a fourteen-year old boy goes on living (or more of ‘dying’) like a zombie for about a month after his sudden death. One morning he played bike with his friends and went home in the afternoon.
He complained of a headache to his aunt (who was living with them) but was ignored. By midnight he vomited and went on a convulsion. He died the next day. You can just imagine the mother’s guilt. She kept on reviewing at the back of her mind what she supposed to have done upon arriving from work to have prevented the death. As Theresa Rando, Ph.D put it, the bereaved is not prepared and the death seemed out of the context (no clues were seen beforehand).
This is when our mind tries to go back and insist that there had been signs like the kid saying ‘I love you’ the past few days when he’s not used to doing so. Or that he’s been cleaning his room saying that he wants everything clean when he goes out. This process of reconstructing events is a way of making up for the anticipation stage which was deprived of the bereaved. After the ‘dead stage’, or the ‘trying to make sense phase’ comes the series of questions you want answered right away.
Most of the time, the answers take time (or do not come at all!). We simply come to the stage where we realize that we have to accept the fact that it’s all there is to it. For those who have strong faith – in anything they believe in (not necessarily a religious faith), that faith is a sufficient answer. The funeral program, memorial service, burial or cremation, and even all the 10-year death anniversary celebrations may pass us by without us getting a clear head and a strong grasp of the reality void of our loved one’s presence.
Shiela Mae Parreno is a writer for the Funeral Program Site.com where you can find beautiful templates for funeral related printed materials. LIKE us on Facebook to gain access to a free template. Follow us visually on Pinterest.