In all these tragedies, death is the common denominator.

Every Time such an incident happens, the numbers that are highlighted are the numbers of the casualties. However, the names of the people left behind struggling with loss and grief are left in the shadows. Therefore, the governments do not give as much attention to the children and the families that are left behind.

Loss and grief can be catastrophic if it is not handled correctly. The people who are left behind need to be supported psychosocially so that they can deal with the loss and rebuild their lives.

When supporting a person who is grieving, it is crucial to understand the following:

  • Every person grieves in a different way.
  • Not crying doesn’t mean that the person isn’t suffering from the pain
  • One doesn’t have to be strong to put up a face
  • Ignoring the pain will not make the pain to go away

As you support the person who is grieving, it is essential to understand the typical process grieving takes. According to a Psychologist called Kubler Ross grief has the following five stages:

  1. Denial
  2. Anger
  3. Depression
  4. Bargaining
  5. Acceptance

When one receives the news of the death of a loved one, the first reactions are shock, disbelief, and denial.  At this stage, your role is to offer a shoulder to lean on. Let them be; if they choose to scream or shout or sit in silence, be there and protect them from harming themselves.

As the shock, disbelief, and denial fades, one starts to get angry at the Higher Power and other people. The person will begin to blame the Higher Power; how can they allow such an atrocity to happen. If it was an accident, the person might get angry at the driver, the survivors or anyone who can be remotely associated with the death.

When the person is angry and blaming other people, do not criticize them.  Help them by taking care of their needs and looking after them. They are most likely to abandon self-care. Therefore, remind them to eat and take care of themselves.

They might later fall into depression as they see no hope in the situation. This is the time to support them by helping them talk about their experience. Also, help them to take care of their needs. Remind them to eat, drink lots of water and take a bath.

The next stage is bargaining as they plead with the Higher Power to bring back their loved one.

As their mind starts to conceptualize that their irrational wishes will not come true, they slowly begin to accept the situation.

It is also prudent to support them in arranging for a proper send-off of their loved one. This might require some financial cost. Check to see how you can help them in their financial situation as they deal with the loss.

It is important to note that grief does not have a straight and predictable pattern it follows. Some people move through grief much faster than others. Other people oscillate in between these stages while others might skip some of the steps. However, it is important to note them so that you can understand a specific behavior you might observe from a person who is grieving.