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The complicated nature of life explains why grieving is a necessary process. The loss of a beloved person can trigger numerous emotions such as guilt, anger, disbelief, and sadness. Coping with sudden death can result in a major challenge. It is agreeable that most of these reactions and emotional responses to loss are natural. That being the case, people should help one another throughout the mourning process in order to find new meaning and move on with life. Those who are in emotional pain should also be allowed to cry in order to support the healing process. The death of my favorite aunt affected me significantly. After the event, it took me five days to accept the fact that my aunt was gone. The purpose of this paper, therefore, is to give a personal experience of loss, grief, and mourning following my aunt’s untimely demise.
The most memorable loss occurred when I was 21 years of age. This was after the death of my maternal aunt. She was only 10 years older. Her untimely death occurred when I was in the United States. Our age gap explains why we used to be close to one another. We could do many things together and support each other. She was shot four times while in Colombia and died instantly.
Although it was hard to explain the circumstances that led to her death, forensic investigations revealed that she had been murdered by robbers for an unknown reason. The victim was a mother-figure to me. As an aunt, she guided, empowered, and encouraged me to pursue most of my dreams. This analysis shows that I was emotionally close to her.
After the loss, I experienced numerous emotional, spiritual, and psychological challenges. Such feelings occurred for several weeks after my aunt’s death. Several reasons can be presented to support this argument. The first one is that I was unable to pursue my goals. This development made it hard for me to meet the needs of my underage daughter. The second example is that I become stressed and troubled. This emotional response occurred after I received the news of her death. The third example is that I was unable to interact with other people. This means that my social competencies were affected greatly. After the death, it took me five days to accept the fact that she was gone. Throughout this period, I could dial her cell-phone number to confirm that she was not with us anymore. This was the case because I felt stressed and discontented with everything in life. The pain in my body was also unbearable.
I was unable to focus on my spiritual goals and mental status. However, I managed to cope with the loss after several months due to the support received from different family members. For instance, my husband was helpful throughout this troubling period. It should also be observed that my failure to attend her funeral might have affected my healing process. This is the reason why individuals who have lost their beloved ones should be advised, guided, and supported accordingly.
My mourning process affected the people around me in a number of ways. For instance, I was not able to support or raise up my young daughter. I was also unable to interact freely with my husband and relatives. I also found it hard to interact with my colleagues, relatives, and friends. The good news was that most of my family members were helpful during this emotional period. This was the case because they empowered me to deal with my grief and be in a position to pursue my aims. They were also keen to console and encourage me to remain strong. It is also worth noting that none of the persons around me was hurtful during the time.
The major rituals considered during the time of loss were prayers and fasting. These practices are known to support the mourning process (Burke & Neimeyer, 2014). I also began to smoke as a way of getting rid of stress. I used different links to feel connected to the deceased person. For instance, my grandmother managed to send my aunt’s graduation ring to me. I always wear the ring as a grim reminder of my beloved aunt. I also possess the clothes she was wearing at the time of the murder. I have never washed them and they are bloodstains.
Holdsworth (2015) asserts that human beings use various techniques to manage their lamentation processes. The first technique that can be used to describe my mourning process is that of writing (Eyetsemitan, 2017). It is evident that my aunt had written a letter to me. Due to the nature of her death, I had not responded to her letter. This is something that has been haunting me over the years. I also have many things in my heart that I was never given the opportunity to say to my aunt. For instance, I did not tell her how she was loved and missed. I have many photographs that remind me of our experiences together.
I strongly believed that a number of rituals can still help with the loss today. For instance, I would be happy to be given a chance to visit her grave. I would mourn and pray on her grave in order to complete my mourning process. Personally, I think that the intensity of my loss could not be sensationalized by the media. This is the reason why I decided to engage in smoking. These aspects show conclusively that my mourning process was complicated (Burke & Neimeyer, 2014). This argument can be supported by the fact that it is several years after the loss and I am yet to heal completely. I also experienced intense rumination, pain, and sorrow during the period. The decision to hold on to her belongings also explains why the process was complicated.
It is agreeable that this loss occurred at a time when I was not aware of the nature of suffering (Hordan & Litz, 2014). With more knowledge, I would have kept myself busy, interacted with more people, and read different materials to support the mourning process. I would have also attended her funeral in order to stop feeling guilty.
There are various complicated mourning issues that have kept me stuck in my mourning process. The first one is that it has taken me many years to be in a position to talk about my aunt. It has been hard for me to accept the fact that she is no longer around us. The second issue is that minor events or memories can trigger intense or painful reactions (Worden, 2008). Sometimes I can start to cry after remembering her.
This course has made it easier for me to learn a number of things about myself. The first observation is that the loss of a close relative or friend can affect me negatively. Such an occurrence can make it hard for me to achieve my goals or interact with others. The second lesson is that I can address most of my emotional and psychological challenges. This is the case because I managed to deal with this loss successfully. It is also clear that I have gained numerous ideas and concepts about mourning from this course. For instance, I have known that individuals should be guided and empowered throughout the period (Eyetsemitan, 2017). People should also be allowed to cry and mourn throughout their lamentation periods.
My discussion shows clearly that my aunt was like a sister to me and a big confidant who supported everything I was doing. This means that she was always close to me. Since she was young, we used to share ideas and live like sisters. Despite these feelings of pain and anguish, it should be observed that the mourning process empowered me to develop better concepts that can be used to support others. The ideas gained from this course can also meet the needs of persons who have lost their friends or relatives. My experience after the loss of my aunt echoes most of the challenges faced by many mourning persons. It is, therefore, necessary for those who are in grief to keep themselves busy and interact with others to prevent any suicidal thoughts. Mourners should also never be avoided. Consequently, these lessons will empower me to guide others in the future.
Burke, L. A., & Neimeyer, R. A. (2014). Spiritual distress in bereavement: Evolution of a research program. Religions, 5, 1087-1115. Web.
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Eyetsemitan, F. (2017). Employee grief, workplace culture, and implications for worker productivity and psychopathology. Acta Psychopathologica, 3(4), 1-3. Web.
Holdsworth, M. (2015). Bereaved carers’ accounts of the end of life and the role of care providers in a ‘good death’: A qualitative study. Palliative Medicine, 29(9), 834-841.
Hordan, A. H., & Litz, B. T. (2014). Prolonged grief disorder: Diagnostic, assessment, and treatment considerations. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 45(3), 180-187. Web.
Worden, J. W. (2008). Grief counseling and grief therapy: A handbook for the mental health practitioner (4th ed.). New York, NY: Springer Publishing.