Coping with the loss of a loved one

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MASON CITY, IA – There have been many headlines recently involving tragedies.

Just a week ago today, Justina Smith, of Northwood, died in after being stabbed

Losing a loved one can be devastating for any family, especially when it happens in a sudden or tragic way.

Mental health counselor, Cody Williams says that understanding how to deal with the loss is an important part of the healing process.

“There are 5 stages of loss,” Williams said, “starting with something like an anger stage, depression, bargaining, acceptance, you know everybody goes through those stages differently.”

Several families in our community are going through those stages right now.

With the recent cases of Tom Barlas senior, to the shooting of a man in Wesley, and the arrest made from a cold case murder from 1994, dealing with the loss of a loved one is something that people are learning how to handle.

Williams says, while it can be difficult, the important thing to do is to go through the stages of grief, so the acceptance stage can begin.

“In our society we don’t like to talk about loss. We look at it as a negative aspect and a lot of societies across the world, in fact, it’s considered a celebration,” Williams said.

Celebrating the life of someone rather than focusing on the fact that they’re gone can be a positive way of mourning.

Funeral Director Alyssa Fullerton from the Fullerton Funeral Home says that in the past, funerals that have been focused on a celebration are oftentimes more helpful for the family because it helps them grieve in a positive way.

“Having a celebration of life is different because you are actually there to have all of these memories and celebrate the person being with you throughout the years,” Fullerton said.

Visitations, funerals and open houses are good ways that community members outside the family have the opportunity to offer their condolences and show their support.

With all of the recent tragedies in our area, events like these are important to be a part of if you know the family in mourning.

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