The Acute Loss Period – Stage 6: The Reflecting Phase
When someone we love dies, part of us dies with that person. It’s common to feel adrift, unsure of what to do next, uncertain of how to create a “new normal.” One of the most important steps following a death is taking time to step away and reflect on how life will change going forward.
Part of walking alongside families during a difficult time is making sure they’re aware of the many twists and turns of the grieving process. At Cypress, we talk a lot about the Acute Loss Period, which is the critical time that occurs between the death of a loved one and the onset of grief. The way a person handles these moments deeply impacts the rest of the grieving process.
There are seven stages that typically occur after a loss, and we have published in-depth blogs about each step, including “The Hearing Phase,” “The Sharing Phase,” “The Seeing Phase,” “The Gathering Phase,” and “The Connecting Phase.”
In this installment, we’ll describe “The Reflecting Phase,” which is when you begin to process and reflect upon the life of the person who has died. This step will be unique to each person who has experienced a loss.
For some people, a death functions as an impetus to improve relationships. It’s an awakening, really. A reminder that life has ups and downs, and is always changing.. Many of those left behind take a serious look at their faith, analyzing their beliefs, and strengthening their spiritual connection.
This time of personal reflection is a turning point. It is when you establish new habits and routines without your loved one present. Often, the most painful part of losing someone close to you is coming to terms with the emotional void that person has left behind. This void looks different for different people. For some, it means a complete change in daily routine, as your time may have been consumed with hospital visits and caregiving responsibilities. For others, it looks like a complete shift in priorities, goals, or future plans. Getting used to a completely new life situation takes time and the support of others, whether through counseling, support groups, or the listening ear of a trusted friend.
Thinking about the many ways your life was touched by your loved one is crucial to healing and moving forward. This time of personal reflection will help you answer the question, “What comes next?”
If you are struggling in the aftermath of a loss of a loved one and need our help, please contact us at any time or feel free to access our aftercare tools online. We want to help walk with you through this difficult time.