October 29, 2015
Journalism Research 2101
Death is something everyone deals with and mourning is a common emotional response among human beings but all people and personal situations are different, so the effects can significantly vary. Depending on the situation, emotional reactions and coping mechanisms are inevitable amongst all people, but can significantly change depending on how the loss of a loved one unfolded. The family of a person battling cancer for many years will react differently than the family a person who was suddenly diagnosed with only a month to live. Different types of mourning can be explored by examining the similarities and differences within the death of a loved one and mental preparation leading up to it.
Last week, my aunt’s father passed away after being diagnosed with cancer only a month ago. This type of death affects all members of my family differently than it would if they had known about his sickness for years. My aunt and cousins only had a month to spend time with him and this tragedy will drastically affect their psychological well-being forever. It also affects other members of our family in different ways due to varying circumstances and personal connections including myself because my dad is the same age as hers. Studies show this has different effects on psychological behavior from impending vs. sudden loss of a loved one.
According to The National Caregivers Library, there are two major psychological responses when dealing with loss and they vary between different situations of death. In the “Caregivers Resources” section of the website, the article “Psychological Responses to Loss” explains the two categories of responses: coping mechanisms and emotional reactions. Depending on a sudden death or an impending one, effects of emotional reaction and psychological well-being can vary. The Caregivers Library explains coping mechanisms connection to different ways of dealing with anxiety and adjusting during the healing process. Some people’s responses result in denial or disbelief because the sudden impact of death on their mind results in a mental block unable to tolerate the truth. This is a very common reaction among those receiving information of a sudden unpredicted death. Others people’s coping responses can vary from disorganization and dependence to enlightenment and intellectualization. More common among premeditated deaths, a grieving method can result in the person seeking for knowledge, analyzing details adding up to the loss and accepting the outcome.
The other category of emotional reactions includes anger, depression, fear, anxiety, shame and many other questioning emotions that vary from person to person regarding different situations. A person who faces sudden death of a loved one may feel a mixture of these emotions resulting in confusion whereas impending death has already allowed for a stretched out span of dealing with these emotions and the final result of an emotional response can change over time. Along with the ideas of impending vs. sudden death, many other factors play a role within psychological responses to losing a loved one including time, place, emotional stability, support systems and much more. Human psychological behavior will continue to vary though the many different obstacles in everyone’s lives.
“Psychological Responses to Loss.” The National Caregivers Library. FamilyCare America, Inc. Web. 29 October 2015. http://www.caregiverslibrary.org/caregivers-resources/grp-end-of-life-issues/hsgrp-grief-and-loss/psychological-responses-to-loss-article.aspx
“Coping With Impending Death.” Mental Health Center. WebMD. WebMD, LLC. 2005. Web. 29 October 2015. http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/features/coping-with-impending-death?page=2