Dealing With Loss

It’s important to understand the grieving process. Not only is it part of being an adult but understanding how people process grief is also crucial to avoiding situations that make it worse.

The content of this episode is based loosely on the Kübler-Ross stages of grief as outlined in Elisabeth Kübler-Ross’s book “On Grief and Grieving”. When going through the grieving process don’t try to power through the stages. Also understand that you may not go through them in any particular order and can revert from Acceptance back even to denial.

Will and BJ have both been through this at different stages in their lives about different losses. They open up and tell stories about their experiences with the different stages. The guys also discuss the recent loss of their friend Jason Benton to Cystic Fibrosis. Not only was Jason a friend for many years but he was also hugely supportive. He was one of the very first listeners to this podcast. In the early days, he listened to the episode when it dropped at midnight to make sure there were no audio issues or other glitches. He did it without being asked because he wanted to see it succeed.

Episode Breakdown

08:29 Stages of Grief

Not only a response to a death, these can also be other losses, like a divorce or the end of other relationships. They are not linear and probably will recur, getting less intense over time. You may go through these phases both as a loss becomes imminent and after it has happened.

15:14 Denial

Denial is a protective phase and helps give us enough time to cope with the shock of change. This is when you begin to accept the reality of the situation and begin to heal. Think of denial as a phase that puts a brake on the pain, keeping you from taking on too much of it on at once.

19:56 Anger

Anger is the next step and is a reaction to powerlessness. Anger is something our society doesn’t have much skill at processing. It’s something we are used to controlling. You will likely find yourself angry at other people for unrelated things.

26:30 Bargaining

This is where you try and tell yourself that it won’t happen if you just change your behavior. This is also where all the “what ifs” happen. You tend to be stuck in the past at this point trying to negotiate out of the pain. This also tends to be the phase where a lot of guilt comes in.

32:35 Depression

This is the point where your attention begins to be focused on the present. This isn’t something you can just overcome. Typically depression is not necessarily a normal response, but with grief and loss depression is part of the process of healing. People tend to withdraw from life during this phase. It is important to get past this phase, but it has to occur in its own time and cannot be rushed.

44:08 Acceptance

This phase does not mean that you are “all right” with what happened, only that you are no longer bargaining or withdrawing from life because of it. This is also the point at which you accept that the new reality is permanent. This is also when you begin to restructure your life to accommodate the new reality.

IoTease: Project

Agate LED Nightlight

While this project isn’t directly IoT related you can make it so simply by adding an arduino or other controller you can make it IoT. This is an interesting project from instructables that uses an Agate block that you drill a hole in and add LEDs to make a night light.

Tricks of the Trade

The code matters, but the people matter more. Don’t get that confused. You will regret the relationships you don’t maintain. You won’t regret pedantic crap in the code.

Editor’s Notes:

This is the hardest episode I’ve had to edit. I had to take several breaks just to get through it. Thanks for listening as we cope with the loss of a very close friend.

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5 comments on “Dealing With Loss
  1. Curtis Carter says:

    A good episode if a bit depressing. This is something we all need to hear.

  2. Kayla says:

    Jase would be so proud of y’all. Thank you for this topic and discussion. I definitely had some tears falling but it all needs to be heard.

    • Beej Burns says:

      Thanks Kayla, he was excited about the show before we even published our first episode. Even though we picked and joked with each other he was always supportive of what we were doing.

  3. Jamie says:

    Loss is one of the hardest things to deal with, and I’m sorry to hear of your close friend having passed.

    Back in 2013 my closest friend passed away, he was 32. He’d been fighting cancer for a few years.He’d been positive throughout most of his treatment, and was still a fun guy to be around. Whenever I visited him, we’d still play video games and watch movies into the wee hours of the morning.

    The fact that he was the same fun guy made it even more painful when he’d passed.

    He passed in the early hours, a few weeks before Christmas in 2013. It was a weekday and when I got to work, I called a meeting with my manager to let him know that I’d be a little less focused and apologised in advance. I was in a really small development team (the entire department was three people), one of the other devs was out an event and I was due to do some code review work; so it wasn’t a huge issue that I wasn’t firing on all cylinders.

    He was a huge fan of Star Wars and the Spaghetti Westerns. I remember when I saw the grounded Star Destroyer in the trailer for Star Wars VII and desperately wanted to text him to see what he thought about it. We used to talk about movies all the time, and every time I see the trailer for one I want to see I reach for my phone… still, to this day.

    My Grandpa had passed only a few months before (2013 was not a good year for me). That really hurt, but it brought my family closer together and we all rallied around my Nan.

    It still hurts, but the pain reduces with time – it feels like linear scale which trends toward, but never reaches zero.

    I’ve tended to think less about how painful it is that they’re not around, but think more about the wonderful memories I have of them.

    My girlfriend has a wonderful, yet poignant, thing to say about death and the pain around losing someone close to you. She says, “grief is the price we pay of having people in our lives”