Grief is a normal reaction to the loss of something or someone that one had formed an affection or bond with. A grieving individual may express an emotional response to the loss which is manifested in their cultural, social, cognitive, physical, and behavioral dimensions. People react to grief in different ways. There is much anxiety that people have when it comes to death issues, and various means are used to protect individuals with changing attitudes towards death over a lifespan.
In childhood development and reactions to death, there are unique understanding of death and response to grief that each child possesses. The understanding is mainly influenced by the chronological age and developmental level of a child. Children cannot understand the concept of death, but they are aware of separation and loss (Brooks, 2014). Children react to behaviors and emotions of major adults in their surrounding as well as interruptions in their schedule and nurturing routine. Children respond to grief through reactions such as constant crying, change in eating and sleeping habits, weight loss, protest, and irritability (Holleran, 2013). On the other hand, adolescents exhibit grief differently than adults and children with emotional and social challenges. More often the adolescent acts behaviorally instead of exposing their emotions.
Remarkably, the young adults are better than the adolescents since they express a wide range of emotions which involve anger and sadness. Individuals at this stage assume additional responsibilities and roles. Middle-aged adults are likely to be impacted by a sudden loss of a loved one (Gressor & Glassock, 2015). The individuals may feel guilty for not being there to protect their spouse or children. The loss of a partner is a disaster since an individual may experience financial hardship or problems when dealing with children among other roles and responsibilities (Green & Green, 2016). The older adults’ grief expected loss more than they would when they were young. For example loss of a spouse may make the old adult feel more dependent on others. They may experience despair, confusion, loneliness, anger, and sorrow.
Someone with a helping profession can assist an individual to cope with grief by supporting them emotionally to acknowledge the pain through taking care of them physically. Also, understanding their cultural beliefs, traditions, and behaviors are essential since they influence how different individuals express grief.
Brooks, D. (2014). Dealing with death – a Christian perspective. Nashville, Tenn.: Broadman Press.
Green, J., & Green, M. (2016). Dealing with death. London: Jessica Kingsley.
Gressor, M., & Glassock, G. (2015). Living with loss and grief. Sydney, NSW: ACP Books.
Holleran, A. (2013). Grief. New York: Hyperion.