Dealing with Grief



photo by Tom Garnett via Flickr

Many people have similar reactions to death and dying. Colin Lowther and Anne Muir look at the five steps of grief.

Transcript


Voice 1  

Welcome to Spotlight. I’m Colin Lowther.

Voice 2  

And I’m Anne Muir. Spotlight uses a special English method of broadcasting. It is easier for people to understand, no matter where in the world they live.

Voice 1  

We all have it. We first feel it when we are children. We feel it in big things and little things. We feel it until we die. What is this feeling? It is the feeling of loss and great sadness. It is the feeling of grief.

Voice 2  

People experience many kinds of losses in life. It could be a loss of someone they love. They could experience the loss of a home or a job. They may even feel the loss of a physical ability. Every person deals with loss in his or her own way. But there are some common ways that people deal with loss. Many people follow the same pattern of behavior when they deal with a loss. This is the process of grieving. Today’s Spotlight is on how people deal with loss and grief.

Voice 1  

In the 1960s Elisabeth Kubler-Ross was a psychologist. She was a doctor who helped people with emotional and mental issues. She worked particularly to understand what people were feeling and thinking as they were dying. In 1969 Kubler-Ross published a book. It was called “On Death and Dying.” She identified five steps that people go through when grieving. The steps are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. By understanding these steps, people are able to understand their own grief and sadness. But they can also help other people in their times of loss.

Voice 3  

Step one: Denial.

Voice 2  

A person in denial acts as if something is not happening. He imagines that if he does not know something, it cannot change him. For example, think about going to the doctor. Imagine a person who does not want to go to the doctor because he does not want to learn the results of a medical test. Denial is our brain’s way of protecting us from too much change. Yet, it is important to look at the facts. However, once people know the truth, they usually move on to the next step: anger.

Voice 3  

Step two: Anger.

Voice 1  

When someone is feeling anger they may ask a lot of questions. Why me? Why now? What could I have done to stop this? They may feel anger at themselves. They may also feel anger toward the person who is dying or who has died. Anger can feel like it will never go away. But with time, it will. And when the anger goes away, it can lead to the next step: bargaining.

Voice 3  

Step three: Bargaining.

Voice 2  

A person who is bargaining tries to change the situation through some action or agreement. For example, after a person hears he is going to die, he may try to make a deal with God. He promises if he lives, he will serve the poor, or stop smoking, or give away his money. This gives him hope. But once he sees that life does not work this way, he may move into the next step: depression.

Voice 3  

Step four: Depression.

Voice 1  

Depression is a deep feeling of sadness. People who are depressed often do not sleep or eat much food. Sometimes simple jobs require a lot of effort. Depression is a normal part of grief. But people can stay depressed. It may be useful to talk to a person trained in dealing with emotions like a professional counsellor or therapist. This can help move you to the next step: acceptance.

Voice 3  

Step five: Acceptance.

Voice 2  

Acceptance happens when people see the situation as it really is. This does not mean that they are happy about their loss. But it means that they have accepted that it is happening. They may be sad about what is happening. But they can see things about life that are still good.

Voice 1  

This process of grieving can take months or even years. Sometimes people stay on one step for a long time. It can influence the rest of their life. And these steps do not always follow this order. Or a person may go back to a step again. But many people who work through these steps find they can still live a good life. Kubler-Ross once wrote,

Voice 4  

“There is no joy without loss. If we did not have death, would we love life? If we did not have hate, would we know the goal is love? At these times you can either hold on to pain and look for blame. Or you can choose to heal and keep on loving.”

Voice 2  

So what can you do if you have experienced loss? Experts say that you should take care of your body. Make sure you get enough sleep and exercise. But also get into the fresh air. Stay clean and well-dressed. Cut your hair or have a meal with your friends. They sound like simple things. And you may not feel like doing them. But they will help you.

Voice 1  

If you are helping someone else in their loss, make sure to look for changes. They may sleep or eat too much - or not enough. Tell them about the steps of grieving. Encourage them to take care of themselves.

Voice 2  

Sadly, there is little you can do to make the pain of grief pass for yourself or someone else. It just takes time. But that does not mean there is nothing you can do! You can do something very simple: spend time with family and friends, or be there for the person who is grieving. You do not have to say anything. You only have to show that you love and support the person who is grieving.

Voice 1  

It is not easy to sit with someone and say nothing. We want people to feel better immediately. But you do not need to worry too much. Kubler-Ross had some good advice. She said,

Voice 4  

“I say to people who care for people who are dying, if you love that person and want to help them, be with them. Sit with them. You do not even have to talk. You do not have to do anything but be there with them.”

Voice 2  

Have you ever felt loss? Did you go through any of the steps of grief? What helped you? You can leave a comment on our website. Or email us at radio@radioenglish.net. You can also comment of Facebook at Facebook.com/spotlight radio.

Voice 1

The writer of this program was Adam Navis. The producer was Michio Ozaki. The voices you heard were from the United States and the United Kingdom. All quotes were adapted for this program and voiced by Spotlight. You can listen to this program again, and read it, on the Internet at www.radioenglish.net. This program is called, “Dealing with Grief.”

Voice 2  

You can also get our programs delivered directly to your Android or Apple device through our free official Spotlight English app. We hope you can join us again for the next Spotlight program. Goodbye.

Question:

Have you ever experienced a great loss? How did you deal with it? What helped you?

Comments


Severino Ramos da Silva's avatar
Severino Ramos da Silva
said on January 01, 2017

From: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) (Severino Ramos)
To: spotlight programme
Subject: answer to the questions above
Date: Sunday 01, January 2017
São Paulo SP Brazil

Dear Anne Muir, Adam Navis, Colin Lowther, and Michio Ozaki:

At first, I want to thank you for bringing us readers and learners of English more one great article, thanks!
Yes, I have.
It was very difficult to me to deal with that grief. So, I did not know what to do. I cried a lot for a long time.
So, I had a lot of people around me to give me some help to accept the situation. I did not accept to know that I lost my grandmother. She died first, the second who died was my grandfather, and last one who died was my father.  However, my relatives helped me to deal with that terrible situation. I was very young boy and I was not prepared to deal with death and loss. Also, these losses were one after another. Now, I am adult but loss is very difficult to me to accept it.

Your regards,
Have a happy New Year. I hope you have a wonderful 2017
Severino Ramos
Brazil