With regard to the popular celebrations of All Saints and the Day of the Dead, and even more so with so many people deceased due to the Covid-19 pandemic, it is worth reading some reflections based on Thanatology.
As is known, Thanatology is a scientific discipline that is responsible for finding meaning in the process of death, its rites and meaning conceived as a professional discipline, which integrates the person as a biological, psychological, social and spiritual being to live fully. and search for its transcendence.
It also deals with bereavement resulting from significant losses that have nothing to do with physical death or terminal illness.
We Mexicans in general are not so much afraid of death as how it will happen, we are afraid of a prolonged or painful agony. The process to accept the death of a loved one can take up to two years.
In the face of the death of a friend, a father, a brother or a grandfather, the loss takes a year to heal. The first year is as if a hurricane had passed. In the second begins the reconstruction. But in the case of the death of a child, a divorce or the death of a good partner, the process could take two years. Time does not heal everything.
The Thanatologist Gabriela Pérez Islas pointed out in her book How to Heal a Broken Heart from Editorial Diana, what can be done to accept the death of your loved one. She has a degree in Latin American Literature; Master in Thanatology with specialties in Codependency and Family, Logotherapy, Spirituality and Suicidology.
The five steps of the grieving process known as the Kübler-Ross stages, named after the Swiss Doctor considered the mother of Thanatology, are denial, anger, negotiation, depression and acceptance.
According to the book How to Heal a Broken Heart by Editorial Diana, these are the five stages of grief:
1.- Denial. It is the shock of shocking news. At this stage we tell ourselves: “it can’t be” or “they are wrong”. Grief can be pathological if after four or six months we continue to wait for his return, a miracle or simply refuse to accept the new conditions of life.
2.- Rage. It is the stage to which we most often return. The anger can be against anyone, including ourselves or God. Talking and exercising help. Alcohol, overwork or evasion are not recommended. You can tear up newspapers, write giving yourself in fiction what you can’t get in reality, or just cry.
3.- Negotiation. It is the stage in which we want to change and that is why we negotiate to obtain new results: If I go to mass every Sunday, the cancer will disappear, for example. We also tend to make changes in our life habits, such as food or entertainment. This is in order to negotiate with life.
4.- Depression. When our negotiation fails, it is easy to fall into depression, which is rage or anger directed at ourselves. A deep sadness is felt, sometimes made up of happiness. The best medicine for depression is someone who listens to us, but who does not get hooked and suffer with us, but who accompanies us in the process.
5.- Acceptance. It is when we understand that the loss is irreversible and we accept it. It doesn’t mean we like what happened. It is measuring the magnitude of the loss and deciding to turn to see the options that open before us. It is setting new, healthy goals and recovering. It’s having the attitude to move on.
Some suggestions from Pérez Islas to heal are:
Organize a virtual meeting where attendees tell an anecdote of the deceased. Say what things you are going to remember him for and how he marked his life. He puts together a list of his favorite songs, as if it were the soundtrack of his life, and shares it with his loved ones. They are melodies that remind us of his life.
Make a letter where you can expand and say goodbye with everything you would have wanted to say. She reads it aloud in front of her picture and then opens the window and burns it in an ashtray. It will serve to release many words that crowd in your throat.
Once you have the urn with the ashes, the people closest to the deceased can gather in a garden or park to make a prayer or a ritual in order to purify the pain and highlight the love. Thinking that others have suffered and survived the loss makes us feel less alone in our process. Summon a meal in which the dishes that person loved are prepared. A menu in memory of him. The duel ends, but love does not.