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Grief: How we deal with sadness after the loss of a loved one

Sometimes Halloween and its festive air hide the meaning of the festivity of November 1, All Saints’ Day, prior to today’s celebration of All Saints. These are two days when many thousands of families have a special memory, each in their own way, for loved ones who are no longer with us. The more recent the loss, the greater the sadness that accompanies the families and friends of the deceased person. That’s why today, in this entry on the health blog of the Ribera health group, we will talk about grief and how we deal with sadness after the loss of a loved one.

All the experts in Mental Health, including those of the Ribera health group, agree to point out that being sad after a loss and, sometimes, when remembering the person who is no longer with us, is not only normal but is a phase of grief that is important to express. Lucía Fernández, a psychologist at the Ribera Polusa hospital, explains that even in the same day a person can go through different phases of grief “in a kind of emotional mountain that is usually common”. Who hasn’t cried and laughed almost at the same time, reminiscing with family and friends about fond anecdotes about a loved one who has died? In the duel, especially when it’s recent, almost anything goes. Because the circumstances, the age, the degree of maturity and the character of each person also influence this cocktail of emotions that erupts at a critical moment like this.

For Natalia Navarro, clinical psychologist at the Vinalopó University Hospital (Elche), which also manages the Ribera health group, grief is “the normal process of processing a loss”. And everyone carries out this assimilation and acceptance in a different way. But in all cases, he remembers, it requires a restructuring of life prior to the loss.

Lucía Fernández, for example, explains in this video how among these phases of grief, which can follow each other over time or converge at specific moments, stand out denial, anger, guilt, negotiation, sadness and acceptance and loss integration. The important thing is that, after the time that each one needs, to reach this last phase, that of acceptance and integration of the loss, with moments of sadness, of course, but also of joy in the memory. “You don’t have to go through all the phases”, explains the psychologist from Ribera Polusa, neither in that order nor in a linear fashion, she adds. And he insists that, in the same family, faced with the same loss, there can be great differences between its members. For her, “it is important that it oscillates between coping with unpleasant emotions and a vital connection that allows you to obtain resources with pleasant emotions and reinforcements.” In this way, the balance of emotions is balanced, even in the saddest moments.

Natalia Navarro explains in this other video, in addition, that it is generally difficult for us to live with emotions such as sadness, anger or fear. “Sometimes it is possible that we try to block these feelings in ourselves or in others, but emotions are essential in the process of mourning and it is important to express them”, he adds. So, if you feel like crying, cry. And if tears don’t come to you, let those who express their emotions in this way cry.

In the first moment after the loss, as Navarro explains, given the variability of cases, circumstances, characters and profiles, “almost all expressions of grief are normal”. However, if the months pass and it is difficult for us to resume our daily activity or certain activities, or we feel blocked by emotions, it is advisable to ask for help from a professional, who will help us channel these feelings.

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