Sudden Loss - the Unexpected Death of Someone Close
Sudden Loss impacts in the case of death or suicide of a family member, a friend, a work companion.
When a person is faced with a sudden loss the event can be very traumatic, and capable of incapacitating the person for some time.
Elisabeth Kubler Ross identified five stages experienced by those confronted with death and dying
Denial and Isolation – Anger – Bargaining – Depression – Acceptance
Stages of Sudden Loss
Three important stages can be identified when a loss is experienced.
a state of desolation involving loss. The person may feel robbed, dispossessed, deserted.
the feelings of sorrow, anger, guilt, and confusion that arise when a loss is experienced. Grief accompanies bereavement.
the overt expression of grief, and the usual response to bereavement. Frequently, it is culturally modified and influenced.
Acceptance of Sudden Loss
Acceptance of sudden loss will occur when the person begins to
- Acknowledge the Reality of the Loss
- Experience the Pain of Grief
- Adjust to an Environment in Which the Deceased is missing
Breath of Life Principles and Procedures
Addressing Sudden Loss
Help survivors as early as possible with the establishment of a caring network
- Help them identify and express feelings
- In cases of suicide, address the issues of stigma, shame, guilt and blame in a way that is supportive and non-judgmental
Working with Individuals
Help survivors to live without the deceased
- Facilitate emotional withdrawal from the deceased
- Encourage survivors to go on
Provide time to grieve
- Provide for continuing support
- Educate clients about customary grieving reactions of other individuals to help normalise the experience
- Allow for individual differences
- Be sensitive to individuals’ styles