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Victims of grief need care and consideration until they can get through the grieving process.

Immediately after the news that someone we loved has died, the reaction would be to feel shock and disbelief. This is a common experience with deaths from unnatural causes. However, even for deathbed patients, the family and close friends will also be shocked at the death. This is also called the state of emotional numbness. It is like a temporary armor which shields us from further emotions and helps us to carry on our lives, making the necessary arrangements for the funeral.

For some people who are deeply disturbed, their feelings of numbness and inability to accept the death becomes a persistant problem. They prefer to think that their loved one is sleeping and everything would return to as of old. We can overcome this stage of grief by attending the funeral or memorial service. The reality of death will sink in and help us to accept the facts. This is also a way of saying farewell to the deceased.

The next stage of grief is experiencing agitation, missing the dead and wanting to contact them. Continually thinking of the dead causes loss of concentration, stress and insomnia. It is usual to dream of the dead as the mind is preoccupied with thoughts of reuniting with the deceased.

There may be feelings of anger at the loss. Guilt is also felt as memories are replayed and people regret not having the chance of correcting something in their past with the deceased.

The next stage of bereavement is depression. There is silent and private mourning for the deceased. Reminders of the deceased spark the memories and fresh waves of mourning start. Thinking about the past and accepting that it is all over is a way of coping with grief.

Depression alleviates as the mourning lessens. We start to think about ourselves again. The show must go on. We will still feel that some part of ourselves is missing but we will carry on. This signals the last stage of bereavement. We let go of the person. We will feel better in health, energy and wellness. Our recovery becomes complete. It is no surprise that this coping with grief may endure for about one year.

Other people that are less affected by grief can help the person who is deeply affected by the death. Spend time accompanying them during their mourning. Your presence is support enough. The bereaved need to talk and cry to express their emotions.This lets off steam and helps in the recovery process. Reminders of the dead like festive occasions, anniversaries, birthdays and weddings can bring on memories and pain. It is best to arrange for friends or relatives to be around to cushion the impact of sorrow.

We can cope with grief by getting practical help for chores. This gives an excuse for social interaction with company and eases the burden of loneliness. Help is necessary until the grieving process is over.

Grieving and coping with grief are very important. Unresolved grief is harmful to your health. There may be repercussions of strange physical symptoms or depression. Seek treatment before the condition worsens. If your appetite, energy and sleep do not improve, then it is better to get a recommendation from your family physician to see a psychiatrist. We need to overcome bereavement to continue living our lives to the fullest.