Whether you have had months to prepare for it, or it happens suddenly, and without warning, loss causes trauma and grief that can become all-consuming, and insurmountable. In the moment that you hear of the loss, you can feel shock, denial, sadness, anger, or all of these things at once. What death leaves in its wake can be devastating, heart-wrenching, and like your entire world is consumed by a wave of pain. Loss can feel surreal, and denial can set in. A beautifully animated short film about coming to terms with loss after a tsunami can support you in accepting death.
I recently lost someone I deeply cared about, and very suddenly. He was only 42, and was in the best place I had ever seen him in life. When I heard of the accident he was in, I immediately went into shock. It felt as if I had been thrown into a brick wall, and as if nothing was ever going to be the same again. It has not.
Though it has not been long since my dear friend passed, this loss has permeated every facet of my life. What felt like a nightmare for days began to feel more real. I realized I couldn’t text him to ask him a question, or check in with him. This person I assumed would always be there was just suddenly – gone.
After a great loss, there are five stages of grief, according to Elisabeth Kubler-Ross.
Denial and Isolation are the first stage. This is the phase of denial where we cannot accept that the death has really happened. We are in shock, and it feels like a nightmare we keep waiting, and hoping, to wake from.
Anger is the second stage. We become angry over the loss of someone, and begin to direct the anger in indirect and misguided ways. We may be angry at the circumstances, at family members, or even at ourselves.
Bargaining is the third stage. We feel like we could have done something differently to prevent that person from dying. This involves guilt and helplessness.
Depression is the fourth stage. We start worrying about the details – burial costs, medical bills left unpaid – and we worry we have neglected those that are still living. There is a sadness, that becomes about handling business, rather than about the loss of the person themselves.
Acceptance is the final stage. Not everyone can truly accept the loss of someone near and dear to them, but if they fortunate enough to make it to this stage, they learn to accept their sadness, and embrace the life that they are living.
Featured photo credit: April Galansky via mrg.bz