How to grief successfully

Losing someone or something you love or care deeply about is very painful, hence everyone needs to grieve.

Whereas many people have different ways to do so, some cultures especially in the African set up put constraints in other genders when it comes to the grieving process.

James Mbugua, a counseling psychologist says that this is not right as grieving provides closure to the grieved.

“You find that in different communities certain groups of people, especially men, are perceived to be weak when they grieve,” said Dr. Mbugua.

Mbugua added that skipping the process might lead one to depression, withdrawal or even sometimes suffer from headaches.

The doctor compared the Luo and Kikuyu cultures in terms of how they grieve.

“In the luo culture people grieve for almost three weeks before burying their loved ones and getting back to normal activities, while in the Kikuyu culture you will find people burying their loved ones by around 1:00 pm and back to the office by 2:00 pm.”

“You will hardly find Luos suffering from psycho traumatic effects as they go through the grieving process fully,” added Mbugua.

While the grieving process may take longer in different people, it usually involves five steps the first one being denial.

He says most people cannot accept the fact that their loved is gone hence prefer believing that they are still around.

The second step is anger, “one feels angry towards doctors especially if the deceased was sick, one feels angry towards family members and close relatives. Some feel angry towards themselves, wishing there was more they could have done,” Dr. Mbugua explained.

The third step is bargaining. In this step, the grieved bargain with God in a bid to see if He will bring back their loved one, it may include promises towards change of their behavior or even being more religious.

“If all this does not work, then the person falls into the fourth step which is depression. This is where a support mechanism is needed because the depression may come with physical and even mental illnesses.”

“After all this, the affected person goes through the final step which is acceptance which brings resolutions. All these steps are important and everyone should be allowed to go through them.”


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This article first appeared on The Star

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