Posted in On Writing, Reality in Fiction, Useful Sites

Reality in Fiction: Grief

There are many things which can be grieved and what connects them all is loss. People will grieve the loss of a job just as much as they will grieve the loss of a person. If it involves a loss, then it also involves grief.

Loss can be grieved in any number of ways. The grief may be express quickly which will also begin the healing process quickly or the grief may take years to be expressed in which case the healing may never come.

Unfortunately, there are many stories where the writer forgets that their character is grieving. When the writer forgets about the character’s loss, the character also forgets about their loss. This means that the character does not deal with their grief.

If grief is not dealt with, it can get worse. Grief can turn into depression or complicated grief which may require professional help.

The most well-known stages of grief are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. These stages can overlap, repeat, or skip; and there is no set timeline nor set order for the stages.

Denial

When someone is in the denial stage they block out the facts about what happened. I like to call this stage the “shock” stage because the griever is in shock about what happened.

The griever may feel a numbness about what has occurred and cannot process that it is real. During this phase someone may appear to just be going through the motions of life without thinking about what they are doing.

Anger

During the anger stage, the griever is trying to find someone or something to blame for their loss.

The griever may feel frustrated as well as an anger about what has occurred. Some people may direct their anger at the loss while others may direct it toward a higher power.

Bargaining

The bargaining stage is what most people think of when it comes to grief. The griever becomes consumed with how their loss came about.

The griever may feel an intense guilt about the loss. They will think about the events which brought about the loss. The griever will also try to think about how things could have gone better and the loss be prevented.

Depression

The depression stage consumes the griever with loss but prepares them to say goodbye.

The griever may feel as if it is impossible to get past their grief. All they can think about is their loss and the issues which have arisen because of the loss.

Acceptance

In the acceptance stage the griever accepts that loss is a part of life.

The griever has come to terms that the loss has occurred and that they cannot change that fact. Once the griever has accepted the loss, they are able to begin the healing process.

 

If you or someone you love is going through the grieving process, I recommend checking out the links below. The information I found on these sites helped SO and me to work through our grief at his father’s passing.

The following articles are specifically about complicated bereavement disorder:

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2 thoughts on “Reality in Fiction: Grief

  1. You have a great point about writers forgetting the character’s grief or a similar trauma. Sometimes writers seem to think there has to be some sort of death or terrifying experience in order to get the ball rolling, but they drop that as soon as they think the plot is up and running.

    Liked by 1 person

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