Bereavement is a normal part of life, and it touches everyone at some point. Grief is a natural response to loss, and in humans, it is commonly associated with the death of a loved one. There is no escape from it, but the manner in which you respond to such a situation depends completely on you. The process of grieving is extremely personal and differs from one to another. However, the earlier one accepts the irreversibility of the situation, the better it is. Even though grief is commonly associated only with emotional responses, severe grief can actually cause behavioral, physical and cognitive problems as well. Severe emotional distress that persists for more than six months becomes a pathological condition.
Symptoms of severe grief or the so-called ‘complicated grief’ differ from those of clinical depression. Severe grief is marked by episodic, sharp, painful emotions, anger, disbelief and bitterness. The predominant emotion is that of extreme sadness and sorrow, accompanied by the recurrent visualization of death itself and a severe neglect of responsibilities.
There are many grief theories that outline the grief process, but the bottom line is that everyone has to pass through each stage. Getting stuck in any one stage is what causes severe unresolved grief. It is your personality behavioral, temperamental, emotional and mental attributes that determines how quickly you can recover and complete the grief process.
Deep down, it is the fear of future life or the attachment to the deceased that comprises most of the thoughts that lead to grief. People who live in the present are more likely to complete the grief process without getting stuck in any specific stage. If death of a loved makes you sad, go ahead and cry and mourn the death, but detach yourself from it as soon as possible and carry on daily life. Detachment does not require you to forget the deceased, but rather allows you to avoid becoming incapable of carrying out a normal life by unhealthy grieving.
If we take a close look at nature and the world around us, we can easily understand that detachment is crucial to growth. It is only with detachment that one can move forward. If you have to climb to the eighth step of a ladder, you have to abandon the seventh. A scientist too has to detach himself from the laurels that he received due to an earlier discovery if new discoveries have to be made. It is important to find balance between healthy grieving and moving forward for optimal mental and physical health.