Bereavement in its very nature is the feeling of deprivation after losing someone close. As a subset of grief, the act of bereaving is more specific to the idea of death. Death itself is frightening for many, especially for those experiencing the death of a loved one for the very first time. But why do humans fear death so much? Aren’t we evolved enough to have grown accustomed to the idea that what is born must also die? Like Shakespeare once pronounced, what arises shall ‘returneth into dust’.
1. Fear of the Unknown
No form of science can prove the existence of a ‘life after death’. Religions, on the other hand, enforce an elaborate belief of a sanctuary. But beyond this façade of a utopia, there is no physical evidence to support this. The concept of religion can be noted as a defense mechanism to triumph the fear of death.
When witnessing death for the first time, the shock will be imminent. Just a minute ago, the deceased was… living.
Just a minute ago, the deceased was breathing – their heart was pumping blood.
Just a minute ago, the deceased was on this planet – they were in our world.
Where did it go? Did it even go anywhere?
How can you explain the fact that a life can end in split second? It’s almost like a switch. You are either living or dead.
A popular belief is that when an individual is finally satisfied with their life, will be when it’s the most appropriate to give up life. But why would one want to end their satiable life? And more importantly, what is the threshold to this satisfaction – what constitutes one’s will to give up every thing they’ve worked up towards in life?
Bereavement is a natural occurrence following a death and most likely, the first thing that comes to mind is ridding this ridiculous feeling. Believe it or not, it is a healthy feeling to encounter for a short period of time. Understanding what an individual is capable of feeling is psychologically healthy. Exposure to a wide array of human emotions is vital for the human experience – to enable more control on the fluctuating human state.
As with living, comes the inevitability of death. It may be a sudden or slow occurrence – either way, the common symptoms of bereavement are: shock, sickness, dizziness, nausea, daze, numbness, emptiness, confusion and stress. The degree that bereavement will be impactful on one will depend on:
Factors that Determine Bereavement
- Relationship with the individual: the level of attachment determines how quickly one recovers
- Experience of loss: with experience with handling death in the past, it will be much easier to tolerate than first-time goers
- Gender: stereotypical, males tend to restrain their emotions, whereas girls are more open to sharing their emotional state
- Culture: albeit differences in cultural norms, there is a general consensus of respectability for the dead
- Age: younger children often won’t understand that the deceased will not return
- Turning to someone trustworthy; sharing thoughts with someone else is the first step to clearly identifying one’s problems
- Writing it all down; scribbling thoughts into a notebook is a great method of expression, whether it be creative or simply words
- Set aside regular time for oneself; some ‘alone’ time to relax can help to cleanse inner thoughts
- Walk away; from any stressful or challenging situations – don’t assume readiness, one must stay calm
- Self-talk; ridding the negative patterns of thinking is a big step towards rebuilding a positive outlook and will boost confidence
- Reduce load; keeping one’s body free from exhaustion is critical to mentally and physically heal
- Forgiveness; being able to move on from hurt, regret and anger will revitalize one’s faith in self
- Optimism; this may mean setting goals that promise a brighter future ahead – once accomplished, one will be more weary of the opportunistic ideals that inherently surround