How Loss Affects Us: Grief & Coping

Coping with Loss

COVID has forced the world to process both individual and collective grief in the face of uncertainty.   

There is no right or wrong answer to how to cope with the death of someone if we’re being honest, it’s really all a process you must go through to really understand. There are certain tips that you can use to help you cope with that great loss you’ve experienced but just remember like all things the death of someone you love takes time. Edison Head Counselor, Ms. Potter says, “I would not be able to tell anyone how they should or should not grieve. That is a very personal and individual journey.” If you are going through a loss only you will know what’s the best way to cope with it.  

 When someone you love so much passes away the first thing you might go through is an “emotional crisis”. You’ll probably have various emotions you don’t know what to do with. The first step in coping with death is accepting that they’re all normal. The anger, sadness, despair, guilt is all normal; accept these feelings and remember it takes time to fully process this death. There are some days you won’t want to leave your bed, some days where you snap at everyone in anger, some days where all you can really do is cry and feel despair. Take your time to go through these feelings. You’re going to be okay. If coping is getting hard and it’s affecting, you in many other ways please go and speak to one of our mental health professionals on campus. Let your teachers, counselors, or even fellow classmates know that you aren’t doing good, and they’ll connect you to one of our campus professionals. Ms. Potter says, “I most certainly will be there as a support and work with them as much as possible, but I will also connect with the experts on campus who can assign therapy or refer the student to a mental health professional or support group.  

Five Stages of Grief

When dealing with the death of a loved one,  people often fall into what is called the Five Stages of Grief according to Dr.

“There are good days, there are bad days, and then there are good days again.”

— Dr. Christina Gregory

Christina Gregory.
Your mind and body will dive into stages of denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance; this progression is very natural. It’s just a normal expression of the feeling of loss.

The most common stages people will default to are Denial and Depression, it’s just natural to refuse to recognize that someone special to you is gone, choosing to refuse reality and depression are often the defaults. These two are the hardest of all the stages as they test you both emotionally and mentally. Now are the Five Stages essential, not necessarily it’s for you to choose. 

Trenton Webster, Senior from Edison doesn’t see the first two as essential as the last stages. The last stages in his opinion are the steps that will move you forward. Many people also see the stages as non-essential; everybody is different and that means you are going to have a different way of grieving.

The stages are just a rough idea of what you will deal with, they aren’t a cut and dry you will deal with all stages.A stage like “acceptance does not mean you are going to accept what happens it’s learning to deal with loss in a healthy way. Acceptance is not what people think it is. It is not just being over death, it’s much more because death stays whether we want it to or not. As Josh Corey, Senior puts it, “Grief is a box and you play this game to hit the box and the box is getting smaller and smaller, you start to miss, you start to feel it less and less.

Grief is all about time and you may even have to deal with the Five Stages all over again stated by Bianca Ankrum, EHS teacher. Grief is a natural process, and you choose to deal with it however you see fit and, if you keep their memory they’re never really gone.