The Act Of Grief

Humans like many other living things feel pain, it is essential to our social being, feelings such as; joy, hate, love, and sadness all contribute to making up our emotional balance. But how do we react to unfavorable happenings and events, what triggers in our brain and how does it happen Find out!

For thousands of years, humankind has always regarded pain plainly, the outpour of blood, a painful sting, or a painful internal feeling with a concrete location, touchable or seeable.

Now imagine the devastation in a healthy body, a deep feeling of helplessness and agony; tears are most times useless, but so is action; the scenario is out of your control. Can you imagine it? It is very hard to do so; here is a concept that defies the normal human belief of “seeing is believing”; rather, it employs an ironic explanation, “feeling is believing.”

It takes experience to understand grief; a raw, realistic experience of it explains it beyond words or narration, the helplessness, the questioning and self-examination, the fault finding and the anger, the hatred, and finally, the gradual acceptance.

The loss of a loved one is painful; it is risky to love something that death has control over; parents, spouses, kids, and relations all fall victim to this inevitability. Time, a deceitful entity, ensures this pain and guides it to and fro the entire planet; when it strikes, sweet memories suddenly become sour and painful, they still bring back happy times, but they also remind us of the impossibility of repetition, no matter how long or how hard we try to move on, we feel this pang every time we stare at that picture or visit that special place, they bring painful smiles into the heart, and we turn away and shed a tear.

Grief, a universal phenomenon takes no prisoner; it visits the rich and the wretched of the earth, the lonely and the popular, feel it's large grasping cold fingers it moves in war-torn zones and the most peaceful places on earth. 

Why do we grieve? 

We grieve because we’re social beings who abhor solitude and embrace interpersonal relationships, from the family to the state and the world. Humankind, since the days of the hunter-gatherers, has always lived in groups to Foster the survival of the species, and with this need, social and interpersonal relationships cannot exist without emotional bonds, even in other social animals such as elephants, lions, and wolves, there is a close semblance of human emotions when they’re observed. With a human, these feelings are heightened because of our neuro superiority over all other creatures; we have many abstract feelings such as; hate, joy, peace, and most importantly, love. It is what helps us become extremely attached to someone, either biologically or otherwise. Over time, we learn to enjoy this feeling of social compatibility with those we love; as time slowly lures us into the feeling of safety, then suddenly (or sometimes slowly as with sickness), it (time) devours our safety net and ejects us into the unfamiliar territory of grief and subsequently depression. This applies to so many scenarios in human existence; the loss of a job, the loss of a loved one, or a massive calamitous event (such as 9/11).

How do we grieve?

Grief, as stated before, is probably the hardest abstract human feeling to put into words, mainly because, unlike many other abstract feelings such as; love, hate, joy, trust, etc. Those experiencing grief find it difficult to talk about it or write about it. Lovers could talk all day, haters could curse all day, but those in the cold hands of grief barely feel the need for existence; many are nearly suicidal and, in most cases, take on existential beliefs.

However, there are five widely accepted stages of this phenomenon;

The denial stage: when the person in question refuses to come to terms with the events as they unfold, they rather believe in some other abstract reality than this harsh one being presented by grief.

The anger stage: when the victim finally comes to terms with reality, it produces a painful surge of helplessness, which showcases itself with anger; the person is angry with the world and fate for such cruel treatment.

The bargaining stage: as humans, the art of bargaining is innate in our thinking process; a person in grief tries to bargain with it, tries to justify it, and tries to share the blame equally.

In the depression stage, we slowly become cold and depressed; the bargaining has failed hopelessly, so we slowly enter into the hard cold sphere of depression.

The acceptance stage: many people don’t get out of the depression stage; they continue in the never-ending cycle of it, but those who do slowly but surely enter the final stage of acceptance, “time conquers all things, and maybe there is more to live for.

These five stages are as difficult as they sound and take a lot of bravery and self-consciousness to experience and survive. We see those experiencing it all around us, that guy that tries to drink himself to death because his wife asked for a divorce, the little girl crying her hearts out because her dog died, the entrepreneur that commits suicide because of a bad business decision, the athlete that cries after a final because he missed the crucial chance for his team, these are all different individuals from different spheres of life connected by one harsh global reality grief. 

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