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Bargaining stage of grief

There has to be an option, there just has to be, please God!

When I found out that dad was dying, I went through such a huge range of emotions, some overwhelming feelings that I never even thought existed. I know one of the hardest things for me, was the feeling of being on a roller coaster, and not knowing what to ‘think’ for the best. I knew I wanted to spend as much time as possible with dad, but I also wasted much of my time on the internet, researching for any kind of treatment or tablets that maybe we didn’t know about. I did this even though we had been told it would be a matter of weeks.

I just could not accept what we had been told at times, and then other times, the sadness took over and I would accept the reality. In some ways on reflection, I think I made it harder for dad, as I kept talking to him about what we could do to fix this, maybe we could take him to America for treatment, maybe there would be an alternative there? I think I was giving myself and my dad false hope, and at the same time, making it emotionally difficult for him as he could see that I was desperate to make ‘it’ go away.

Often I still think about every wasted moment, when I could have lay with my dad and talked, got to know him even more whilst I had the chance. I could have made sure he knew how much I loved him rather than trying so hard to focus on what I really wished for, instead of the unbearable reality. I was trying to ‘bargain’ for his life.

 

What is the bargaining stage of grief?

Often during this stage, the individual or the family will be attempting to ‘bargain’ with any ‘god’ or other powerful being that they believe in. However, this does not provide a solution, or change anything for the family.

*Be aware that these feelings may lead to additional feelings of guilt or remorse, and restrict you from being able to grieve and heal.

*If a person you are close to is in this stage of grief, then it is important that you do not offer them false hope, however you can support them with the practical things that they CAN do, rather than what they WISH would happen.

 

How would I know I was in the bargaining stage?

Not always, but often, this comes after the anger stage of grief, and is really an expression of hope; a real desire to imagine that the bad news may be irreversible, or that its not going to happen.

This can be prominent even before someone has died, and they are fighting a terminal illness. You might find yourself thinking about what you could have done to avoid this, and how things could be so different if this was not happening.

 

Do we ever stop wishing?

“Without you in my arms, I feel an emptiness in my soul. I find myself searching the crowds for your face – I know it’s an impossibility, but I cannot help myself.” (Nicholas Sparks, Message in a bottle)

"Please note that this blog post was provided by Healthy Minds and although based on real people, different names have been used, where requested, by those sharing their stories."

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