The Different Stages of Grief and Available Ways to Honor a Deceased Loved One
Updated: Nov 17, 2022
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In 1917, the famous psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud introduced the notion of grief. The process of grief is a long journey that each person must take at their own pace. Knowing the stages of grief will help you live the grieving process better.
Definition: What Is Grief?
Grief is the setting up of an intrapsychic process at the same time behavioral, cognitive and sociocultural in front of the definitive loss of a person (death), of a situation (rupture in love, divorce, employment...) or even of an object.
The bereaved person will feel many emotions such as fear, guilt, anger, sadness, injustice, frustration, and disgust. Consequently, they will react to their experienced emotions, which can often lead to behavioral disorders. The goal of the grieving process is to continue to live and accept this definitive and irremediable loss.
Stages of Grief
In the 1960s, psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross developed the theory of the five stages of grief. Those who suffer a loss would face successively: denial, anger, negotiation, depression, and, finally, acceptance.
Shock and Denial
The bereaved person is overwhelmed by the death of their loved one. A loss that is usually even more brutal when it was not foreseeable. It leaves them without any apparent emotion as if denial occurs in a state of shock. A temporary reaction to insurmountable pain is the denial of facts that have occurred. This is a brief phase, but it can have serious consequences if the person cannot stop it.
With the awareness of reality, here comes the anger phase, where the person revolts against what they feel is an injustice. They may find an outlet by pointing the finger at blame. This is an extremely painful and delicate stage to go through, where strong internal contradictions are expressed: accusations, and feelings of guilt, especially if the survivor blames themselves for not having been able to do anything to prevent the other person's death.
Frustrated, the grieving person irrationally tries to "bargain" for the return of the deceased. Confronted with the irreversibility, they will enter the more or less long phase of depression.
Depression and Pain
When they recognize that the loss has occurred, the grieving person sinks into depression. Unable to cope with daily life, passive, they see no way out of their suffering. If this grief phase stagnates for too long, it should warn of a possible pathological state.
Finally, there comes a time when the depressed person finds the strength to leave their pain and isolation. Distancing themselves from their grief, they look for ways to rebuild themselves; they resume activities. Reality is admitted. The person can return to the course of their life. They have understood that they can live while no longer being the same, without ever forgetting the absent person.
Ways To Honor A Deceased Loved One
When a loved one dies, there are many ways to pay tribute. It is an opportunity to honor the deceased with dignity, as the farewell ceremony. Choosing a text or music that the deceased likes are a beautiful way to evoke who he was. Writing a speech or a poem is also meaningful. Whether you are close or not so close, family, friend, or just an acquaintance, it is also possible to pay tribute to the deceased with offerings: flowers, donations, candles, masses, or even remembrance trees.
Paying Tribute with Flowers
Offering flowers is an ancient tradition in most cultures. It shows our affection or love for the deceased. Flowers can be a way to express our thoughts when words fail us. Therefore, offering flowers is a way to honor the dead and show our support to those closest to us. Flowers can bring them sympathy, and comfort and soften the funeral ordeal.
Paying Tribute with a Donation
What better way to honor a deceased person than to donate to a cause that the deceased person is involved in? This practice is becoming more and more widespread and often stems from the family's wishes or the deceased himself. Whether it is destined for a charity, a medical research organization, or the Church, a donation is a way of acknowledging the existence of the deceased by participating in positive action. It can also be a way to continue the commitment of the deceased person when they are involved in an association.
Paying Tribute by Lighting a Candle
After the funeral ceremony, a candle is usually placed on the coffin or the grave. A lighted candle represents light and the ascending life (elevation) and purity. Beyond its religious symbolism, it conveys peace and quiet. This is why the candle is often used to pay tribute to a deceased person.
Paying Tribute by Offering a Mass
For the Catholics, paying tribute to a loved one by holding a mass for them brings great comfort. During the mass, the believer places the beloved deceased in the hands of the Lord. Thanks to the prayers, a mass accompanies the soul of the dead on its way to God. Today, the Catholic Church has evolved this ancient tradition: a digital platform allows the faithful to easily request the celebration of a mass, a novena for their deceased.
Paying Tribute by Planting a Memorial Tree
Planting a tree to remember a loved one is a beautiful way to pay tribute. The tree, synonymous with life, will grow over the years, perpetuating the memory of the deceased. It will become a living, eternal remembrance, a source of strength. Moreover, it will offer loved ones a peaceful place of meditation.
Like flowers, trees also have a language. The oak, for example, symbolizes power and durability. In Eastern culture, the willow tree represents immortality. And the lime tree signifies protection. Planting a tree of remembrance is also an ecological step, a gesture in favor of our planet.
Making a Memorial Diamond out of Ashes
The memorial diamond is a more personal and loving way to say goodbye to a loved one. The memorial diamond is a symbol of love, affection, and esteem. Unlike traditional burials, a memorial diamond is a way to mourn, remember the deceased on a daily basis, and remember the moments of pleasure shared. This precious memory accompanies the families for the rest of their life. Memorial diamonds remain eternal possessions passed on by inheritance from generation to generation.
The grieving period can last one or two years, sometimes much longer. The order is not important, and the main thing is that each phase of grief is addressed and understood. Lonite™ stands by your side with dignity and respect to take care of you throughout your grief. Our goal is to share your burden and help you go through these difficult days.