Essay by nikitalolCollege, UndergraduateA+, April 2004

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'What do I do now that you're gone? Well then there's nothing else going on, which is quite often, I sit in a corner and cry until I am too numbed to feel. Paralyzed motionless for a while, nothing moving inside or out. Then I think how much I miss you. Then I feel fear, pain, loneliness, desolation. Then I cry until I am too numbed to feel. Interesting pastime.' (Peter McWillians, How to Survive the Loss of a Love). Grief is an inevitable part of life. It is a natural and painful reaction to loss. These painful emotions may serve as a useful function. Some think that grief may be adaptive mechanisms for both social animals and humans. The pain may motivate parents and children or mates to search for one another. Grieving is very complicated and personal. There are four steps involved in the grieving process: numbness, yearning, disorganization/despair, and resolution.

The first phase in the grieving process is numbness. Individuals who have just suffered the loss of a loved one may seem dazed and may feel a little emotion other than just numbness or emptiness. A lot of the time these individuals try to deny the death, firmly believing that their loved one is still with them. The emotion felt during this period varies from individual to individual.

The second step involved in grief is yearning. It is an intense longing for the loved one. This involves guilt, anger and resentment. The grieving individual may also experience illusions. They most commonly occur in the deceased individual's favorite setting, for example in his or her bedroom. These illusions seem real to the bereaved. They also tend to have dreams of their loved ones returning to them or seeing them in a memory that they had shared...