Today: Jul 14, 2024

The seven stages in coping with death

Ali Iacono – Special To The Southern News

Everyone experiences a moment in life, perhaps several, that completely changes who you are as a person and how you view the world. That moment can make you feel brand new and it may commence an entirely new chapter in your life. However, everyone’s life altering moment doesn’t necessarily abide by the fairytale movie guidelines. I know mine didn’t.

My moment came on Dec. 1, 2010. The moment came slightly after 10 p.m. It came via one single phone call.

It was a phone call from my brother informing me that our mother had stopped breathing. At that very moment, I felt like I was going to as well. Almost instantly, I became a 20-year-old without a best friend.

The seven stages of grief are shock/denial, pain/guilt, anger, bargaining, depression, reconstruction and acceptance. At one point, it was impossible for me to think I could ever reach the seventh stage. How could I ever accept my mother being gone forever? How could I ever be able to fully function without her telling me how proud she was? How could I accept the fact that we would never have another conversation? That we would never see each other again? How could I be so selfish?

Here I am almost two years after the fact and I can say yes, I have accepted it. That’s not to say it doesn’t still hurt; because it does. The pain never goes away completely, you just learn how to cope with it.

Am I being selfish? No. In the end, it’s a part of life. It makes me sad to say that but it’s true. Everyone will be in this position one day. We’ll all experience the seven stages and in time we will reach acceptance. Life doesn’t stop moving just because you do.

Photo Courtesy | Ali Iacono
Ali with her mother before she passed.

The best advice I could give to someone going through this type of situation is don’t lose yourself. Don’t let the depression overpower the more important stages like reconstruction and acceptance. It’s so easy to sulk, but it’s so motivating, rewarding, and healthy to kick depression’s butt! Of course, I understand things aren’t always as easy as they sound.

When it came to me vs. depression, I was down for the count for months. I’ll admit I didn’t handle it well. I had plenty of people around me to support me, but none of them were who I wanted and needed them to be. Despite all the encouragement from my friends and family, the only person that could get me out of my slump was me.

It wasn’t easy and it wasn’t the slightest bit fun, but I can finally say that I beat depression. Though I will never beat sadness completely, I have to live my life for the both of us. Everyday is a new day. Some are better than others but in the end it’s another day to live life and it should be taken complete advantage of.

1 Comment

  1. That was really wonderful and moving. You’re incredibly strong and especially brave to write about something so personal.

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