Grief Counseling

Dr. Romero Comella is a recognized specialist in Psychiatry with a long history of excellence in dealing with his patients. He currently consults in Jerez de la Frontera and Algeciras.

Nowadays society avoids the feeling of suffering at all times. It tries to avoid the pain that comes with life and that is inherent to the human condition. Not many years ago, perhaps two generations ago, death was an everyday occurrence, the death of the closest loved ones took place at home, the wake was held there, and people came to accept death as a natural part of life. Death has been separated from everyday life. Nowadays there is hardly any infant or juvenile mortality, there is a higher quality of life. Many people reach adulthood without having been in contact with death. Death and mourning have left the homes, it is in the hospitals and then in the mortuaries. These new customs make the acceptance of loss and the elaboration of grief more difficult.

What exactly is mourning?

Grief is the feeling of each individual provoked by the death of a loved one. The expression of grief encompasses a wide range of emotions that depend on cultural norms and expectations. Mourning is the social behavior following the loss. Grief work consists of a complex psychological evolution through which the pain of loss is overcome. Normal bereavement can last up to a year. It goes through different phases until acceptance is reached.

Initially, it is usually manifested by a state of shock that can be expressed as a feeling of dullness and bewilderment. It is followed by expressions of suffering and discomfort such as crying. Feelings of weakness, loss of appetite, weight loss, sleep difficulties and dreams of the deceased are frequent. There is anger against the doctors who attended the deceased, against God who did nothing to save him… Feelings of guilt are normal (why didn’t we take him to other doctors, if we could have spent more time with him…). There may be denial (this is not happening, at any moment it will appear at the door…). Objects of the deceased are kept to perpetuate the relationship (objects of attachment). Sometimes there are sensations of presence (it seems that he/she is here) and more rarely illusions and pseudohallucinations (seeing the deceased).

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The different phases of grief

Later the loss begins to settle down. The person becomes withdrawn, apathetic and indifferent. Life has ceased to have meaning. Memories of the deceased are evoked and there is disappointment when the person becomes aware that they are only memories. In the end the acute painful aspects of grief subside, it feels like coming back to life. The deceased is remembered with both joy and grief and the image of the deceased is internalized. Unexpected deaths, whether sudden, violent, accidents, catastrophes, sudden death, or sudden death, make it difficult to mourn. Finally, some advice on how to grieve correctly: bereavement should be “mourned”, the corpse should be allowed to be seen, the death should not be hidden: have photos of the deceased, talk about the deceased… Allow to talk to the doctors and family about the illness and causes of death. Attend the mourning and burial. Socialize the death: public mourning and burial. Accept the grieving process as “normal” and encourage religiosity.