Why Grief Never Really Ends

cremations services

Our cremations services include helping bereaved families with grief resources. If you’ve never experienced grief over the loss of someone you love, then you may approach grief from an analytical point of view. You may presume that it’s a linear chart that proceeds in a logical order and then is over.

Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, a psychiatrist, wrote the groundbreaking book, On Death and Dying. In it, she delineated five stages of grief. The first stage was denial. The second stage was anger. The third stage is bargaining. The fourth, depression. And the final stage was acceptance.

Many of us approach our grief over the loss of a loved one with these five stages in mind. We assume that we will experience each stage for certain amount of time in the order they are given in On Death and Dying. Increasingly her work has been discredited as it implied to many that grief was a simple linear process with a conclusion.

But life is not linear and neither is grief. The stages don’t happen in order, and some don’t happen at all. Additionally, actual grief can move back and forth through the stages. It can be very confusing and overwhelming. We may actually come to the conclusion that we’re doing grief wrong.

The reality is that there is no right or wrong way to grieve the loss of a loved one. And even when the intensity of the initial grief has waned, the hint of grief is always present. There are reasons for this.

Grief doesn’t happen in a vacuum. It affects many people when a loved one dies. And each person in that group processes grief differently and over varied periods of time. So we’re always dealing with more than just our own grief; we are also dealing with grief of those around us, whether they are family members or friends.

The loss of a loved one continues to grow over time. What this means is that we think about the things in life, like graduations, marriages, births, and other momentous occasions, that our loved one who has died is missing. There’s a bitter sweetness that hangs over even the most joyous occasions because they’re not preset. We will find, as time goes on, those moments of grief popping into our everyday life.

Grief over the loss of someone we love changes who and what we are. We can never go back to the person we were before we lost our loved one. In general, this is a good thing because we’ve had to face mortality personally. It changes our perspective along with our priorities…it changes us.

We may find that other people expect the old version of us to come back. We may hear things like, “You’re not the same person you were when…” And that’s true, but that person is gone for good because we’ve changed and grown–we’re different.

Grief over the loss of a loved one becomes a part of who we are. We are permanently broken after someone we love dies. We’re not totally broken, but the heart has a chunk missing out of it and grief sits in that hole as a placeholder. It will be there until the day we die.

Grief resources are part of our cremations services, so you can depend on our compassionate and experienced team at Hopler & Eschbach Funeral Home to help you. You can visit our funeral home at 483 Chenango St., Binghamton, NY 13901, or you can call us today at (607) 722-4023.