Grief refers to the reactions and feelings that a person experiences after the loss of someone or something that is very critical to them. Grief cannot be described as illness as it cannot be medically cured or hurried along. It is the feeling of loss that includes the loss of relationship with the demise of an important person, loss of health, good job as well as the loss of generations and more importantly, the family bonds. Individuals respond to grief differently depending on their cultural orientation and beliefs. Even so, no two people experience grief in the same magnitude. The level of grief is depended on the nature of the loss, the history of the deceased, the spiritual and cultural beliefs, and the personality of an individual. Indeed, grief is expressed through sadness, crying, shock, isolation, anger, guilt, and even suicidal thoughts. As such, it is fundamental that grief is dealt with so that individuals return to their normal lives as soon as possible. This paper will discuss how the different cultures deal with grief that arises out of the loss of someone or something that is core to individuals.
People are all different because they come from different cultures and family backgrounds. Each culture has its unique beliefs, rules, expectations and traditions on how grief is expressed and how it is dealt with. Asa natural part of the healing process, grief becomes an inevitable part of life. Whether the loss is unseen or predictable will determine the whether an individual is prepared for the loss or not. A predictable loss would not have a big effect that a sudden one. Some of the cultures such as the African ones anticipate that a time to grieve is eminent and therefore developed rituals that will help people undergo the grief process. Indeed, other cultures have grief rituals and ceremonies to acknowledge the loss and offer support to those affected. However, this is just one of the ways in which grief is acknowledged by some cultures. Dealing with it is a very com0olicated affair, as some people take long to recover while others take a very short time to erase the memories. Indeed, others will have to live with the loss forever and are therefore in grief in almost their entire lives.
Africans communities and cultures belief that death is a natural process. The indigenous ones actually do not fear loss as they are aware that it is juts normal. However, the different faiths that exists in those cultures have affected the way that grief was dealt with by the African indigenous people. Specifically, in the early days, grief was a juts in a matter of days after the burial of the body of the deceased. The elders used to cleanse the family from where the loss has occurred to prevent further deaths. This was because of the belief that death was caused by a bad omen. Those who lost their loved ones were required to be shaved during the grieving time. This was symbolic of the loss of someone important. Additionally, the older women and men were the ones that offered advice to the victims of the loss on how they should put up with the loss and continue to build the community. However, things have changed and the way that people deal with grief in Africa and across the world depends on their faith and religious beliefs.
Buddhists believe that death presents a rebirth and that when people die they will be reborn again. After the cremation or burial of the person depending on the tradition, speeches are made and chants on the impermanence of life. Dealing with grief in the Buddhist culture requires the consultation of spiritual leaders such as the Buddha. These leaders provide spiritual guidance during the grief period so that an individual will be able to recover. Additionally, the monks console the family and offer any support that they have to help the grivi9ng family recover. Moreover, offerings that are made in respect for the life of the diseased can also be shared with the family as a way of grieving with them. There are also several support centres where those aggrieved can seek professional counselling on how to deal with the loss. In these centres, individuals are advised on the need to let go off and reduce their sorrows so that they can rebuild their lives and be better prepared when their time of demise reckons.
Christians especially the Catholics and other protestant groups have also their own unique way of dealing with grief. After the loss of someone, close family members assemble at the home of the deceased so that they can arrange for the date of the funeral. During this time, the family members affected are consoled. In this regard, they cannot be left alone and some members of the community are therefore forced to stay at the homesteads of these people. A requiem mass is held before the date of the funeral with the aim of celebrating the life of the deceased. After the mass is celebrated in the burial ceremony, the aggrieved family members are encouraged to seek spiritual support from the priests and other religious leaders. This aid in giving them hope and helping them recover from their loss. Other consult professional counsellors who will give them advice on how they should live and how they can continue with their normal lives despite the loss. However, in the catholic culture, anniversaries of the death are made with mass celebrations being animated and flowers and other objects being placed on the graveyard of the deceased in remembrance.
The western cultures deal with grief through reading of poetry and books. In this regard, he affected person(s) will get consolation through reading inspiring books that will help forget the loss. Reading those books serves as a distraction to the actual situation that the individual is undergoing. Notably, the mental state of an individual during the grieving period is important in establishing the best way to deal with the loss of someone or something important. Part from reading novels, others listen to music as a way of dealing with their grief. The content of this music should be something inspiring and which helps them forget about the demise of one of their own. Notably, listening to music just like reading poetry and books acts as a distraction to the actual scenario that an individual is going through. More importantly, listening to music might be the only thing that can make aggrieved person happy. There are other who cannot stand meeting people and therefore get companies through reading books and listening to interesting music.
There are those people who cannot completely recover from the loss of their loved ones. In this regard, they have suicidal thoughts while others use objects to hurt themselves. Additionally, others react by feeling guilty for the demise and feeling worthless. As such, dealing with grieve from such people requires them to join support groups. These groups consist of people who have undergone the same cycle and who have important advice to offer those experiencing it for the first time. Additionally, they the support groups also offer professional advice on how to recover.
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