Loss of a Loved One

According to Lekalakala-Mokgeke, “death is one of life’s few certainties and a universal experience for all individuals; hence all persons with loved ones will eventually become bereaved” (Lekalakala-Mokgele 151). O’Connor cites that “the death of a loved one has been recognized as the greatest life stressor that we face as humans, heading the list of stressful life events (O’Connor 1). Lekalakala-Mokgele adds that “cumulative exposures to family members’ deaths; the sorrow of watching them die; death anxiety; putting emotions of family members first; and spiritual and religious issues” are determinants of how someone reacts to the loss of someone (Lekalakala-Mokgele 152). However, “cultures vary widely regarding the magnitude to which death anxiety is expressed. Some cultures appear to manage the idea of dying comparatively well…[while] in other cultures, aversion to the idea of dying is so strong that they can be classified as death-denying or death-defying cultures (Lekalakala-Mokgele 153).


Researchers from National Cancer Institute hold that grief due to loss of someone can be an illness, which “Most people will experience common or normal grief and will, with time, adjust to the loss; others will experience more severe grief reactions such as prolonged or complicated grief and will benefit from treatment” (Bethseda, and National Cancer Institute (US) par.3). Grief is subject to time, and the National Cancer Institute has cited that it as a pattern that comprise “Inhibited or absented grief… Delayed grief… Chronic grief… Distorted grief” (Bethseda, and National Cancer Institute (US) par.44). According to According to Jia and Zhang, “grieving process of Shiduers[depends on the] relationships with ancestors, with the deceased child, with the spouse, with relatives, with Tong Ming Ren, and with the country (Jia and Zhang,   10). According to Lekalakala-Mokgele, “each person’s grief is unique and does not follow any pattern or trajectory (Lekalakala-Mokgele 151). It can be “normal or common grief reactions may include components such as …numbness and disbelief, anxiety from the distress of separation, a process of mourning often accompanied by symptoms of depression, [and], eventual recovery (Bethseda, and National Cancer Institute (US) par.8).

O’Connor explains that “current grief research relies heavily on attachment theory and cognitive stress theory to understand the process of adapting after the death of a loved one, rather than the outdated and inaccurate five-stage model of grief” (O’Connor 2). He cites that “the functioning of a person prior to the death event is also an important aspect of their trajectory of adaptation” (O’Connor 3). He concludes that “factors [that] are associated with greater grief and depressive symptoms following bereavement, including avoidant attachment, neuroticism, the unexpectedness of the loss, adequacy of financial situation and low social support (O’Connor 8). The “neurobiology of grief is that cognitive impairment may help to explain differences between those who are adapting well, and those who have prolonged grief severity” (O’Connor 10). Notably, Stritof claims “there is no right way to feel after losing your spouse (Stritof par.3). She suggests that people should “try to take care of yourself by eating well, exercising, and getting enough sleep. Try to avoid drowning your sorrows by drinking excessively, as that can actually exacerbate your pain” (Stritof par.6). Other coping mechanisms include “it is important to reach out to other people in your life for help” (par.9) and “adjusting social life” (par.11).

Works Cited

Bethseda, and National Cancer Institute (US). Grief, Bereavement, and Coping with Loss (PDQ®). PDQ Supportive and Palliative Care Editorial Board, 2021.

Lekalakala-Mokgele, Eucebious. “Death and Dying: Elderly Persons’ Experiences of Grief Over the Loss of Family Members.” South African Family Practice, vol 60, no. 5, 2018, pp. 151-154. AOSIS, doi:10.1080/20786190.2018.1475882. Accessed 28 Mar 2021.

O’Connor, Mary-Frances. “Grief: A Brief History of Research on How Body, Mind, And Brain Adapt.” Psychosomatic Medicine, vol 81, no. 8, 2019, pp. 731-738. Ovid Technologies (Wolters Kluwer Health), doi:10.1097/psy.0000000000000717. Accessed 28 Mar 2021.

Stritof, S. “Tips for Coping with The Life-Changing Loss of a Spouse.” Verywell Mind, 2020, https://www.verywellmind.com/coping-with-death-of-spouse-2301016. Accessed 28 Mar 2021.

Zhang, Yudi, and Xiaoming Jia. “A Qualitative Study on The Grief of People Who Lose Their Only Child: From the Perspective of Familism Culture.” Frontiers in Psychology, vol 9, 2018. Frontiers Media SA, doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2018.00869. Accessed 28 Mar 2021.