"We do not suffer the same mourning"

Cristian González

1 November, 2010

The loss of a loved one is a bad trance that every person suffers throughout their lives. The period of mourning caused by the death of someone close to us always affects, although it reproduces with a different intensity according to the individual and his environment. Concepció Poch explains how to confront him and reduce his physical, psychological and emotional consequences.

What elements are characteristic of a situation of mourning?
The first thing that occurs is the denial of what has happened: "This can not be happening to me!", Then immersed in a state of rage or anger, in which the injustice of what is happening is felt . Immediately, the sadness and the disbelief can be present, before being able to arrive at the acceptance of what has happened.

How does the affected person feel?
The affectation is directly related to the degree of pairing that was with the person who has just lost and will no longer physically. The mourning person can believe and feel that nothing really makes sense, that it is not worth living without the presence of the one who loved so much.

And from the physical point of view?
In the physical and physiological aspect, people of all ages can experience disorders ranging from loss of appetite or insomnia to somatizations that are sometimes difficult to diagnose. The younger children may show irritability, alteration of appetite and sleep. In this sense, you can help them tell them about death as "the absence of functions": it is no longer breathing, eating, or having thirst or hunger.

How does mourning affect our perception of the world that surrounds us?
The world becomes "globally" sad, gray, inhospitable, without "right" to have joy, without "right" to continue as if nothing had happened ... It is not understood why the rest of the world is still normal: «As if nothing had happened».

How should one act in a situation of loss of a loved one?
The optimal attitude is to accept the loss and the absence of the loved one, both rationally and emotionally, but that is not easy, at the beginning. To get there, it is best to let yourself be helped by the people you trust and love, and, if necessary, require professional intervention.

It is said that it is very good to exteriorise the sadness that one feels. Apart from crying, what else can be done?
There are people who will appreciate being able to walk alone, subtract silent, go out on the mountain, travel alone, listen to music, read a good book ... Others will love being more accompanied, explaining their feelings, going out with the family and Friends, often verbalize their grief, look for a group of mourners in order to share the experiences they live ...

What advice should be offered to a person in a state of mourning?
The advice, if they are not asked, is worth more not to give them. If there is an explicit demand ..., welcome, share, console, be there!

After the loss, what should be the role of the family?
Being close, being available, solving practical issues, offering serenity, crying with the person in mourning, caring if appropriate, silence quietly next ...

What factors determine the degree of intensity of the mourning process? Does everyone suffer the same way?
We are not all equal: we do not all suffer the same. The internal and external variables (way of being, internal strength, health, age, specific circumstances of death ...) are numerous and largely determine the degree of intensity of the mourning process.

What are the phases of mourning and how long is it believed to last?
Not all authors describe the phases of mourning as well. The best known phases or stages are those established by Dr. Kübler-Ross and Worden psychologist. The latter describes four tasks: accepting the reality of loss, experiencing pain, adjusting to a new reality and relocating the absent person in one's life and continuing to live.

It's difficult to answer the question of how hard the grief lasts. A single answer is never appropriate. Tradition marked some mourning periods, depending on the type of loss. When the loss is very close the normal term can go from six months to two or three years.


Concepció Poch i Avellán holds a degree in philosophy and has a master's degree in psychopedagogy. He is currently a member of the Securities Education Group of the Institute of Education Sciences (ICE) of the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB). He is also the author of several books such as Fourteen letters to death (Paidós Editions) i Of life and death. Resources for family and school (Editorial Claret).

the author

Cristian González

Graduate in Journalism (UPF), Graduate in Contemporary History (UB), Master in Business Communication Specialization in Digital Technologies (UPF).

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