5 Stages of Grief

Written by on July 18, 2012 in Lifestyle - No comments | Print this page

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Though none of us like to think about the inevitability of our morality, we are at times faced to deal with the loss of our loved ones.  When someone passes away, those left behind experience grief in five stages.

Understanding these five stages of grief will help you embrace, release and cope with your pain.  It is important to remember that each person will grieve in their own way.  Some people grieve privately, while others will wear their emotions on their sleeves.

There is no wrong way or right way to grieve.  If you know someone who is suffering from the loss of another person, be respectful and understanding.  Know that their emotions are possibly unstable.  Be supportive and offer a shoulder to cry on or simply a listening ear when they’re ready to talk.

Grieving after the loss of a loved one, takes time.  Again, each person is different in how the deal with death.  Some go into shock, others withdraw, while many take stock of their own lives and begin to reflect on their existence.

No matter what the situation might be, learn to take it as it comes.  Here are the five stages of grief.  Read through each one in order to better cope with your own loss or to identify what someone close to you is experiencing.

Denial
The first stage of grief is denial.  It begins either once someone is diagnosed with a terminal illness or after learning of the person’s passing.  Most often, it is difficult to accept the bad news.  Either you saw or spoke to the person recently or simply cannot come to grips that they are gone.  Naturally, confused emotions whirl through your mind.  This stage is temporary as we slowly begin to realize the reality of what has happened.

Anger
Once denial has passed, our thoughts move from ‘this can’t be true’ to ‘I am so angry that this happened’.  We become angry at the circumstances surrounding the person’s death.  We get angry at them for dying and leaving us before we were ready to say good-bye.  We become angry at ourselves for being angry and for not connecting with the person more before they died.  This is a necessary stage.  As you release your anger, you release the pain associated with your loved one’s passing.

Bargaining
The third stage of grief is bargaining.  It is desperation to somehow prevent the imminent death of someone who is ill or an attempt to change existing circumstances to prevent experiencing the same pain in the future.  This stage is about trying to regain control.  Trying to do something, anything…that will help you feel better.  Most people will turn to God, either pleading for deliverance or asking for the opportunity to make many wrongs, right.

Depression
After denial, anger and bargaining enters depression.  The actual reality of the situation starts to affect us in ways we didn’t anticipate.  Our lives feel lonely and at times meaningless as we contemplate the big picture of our human existence.  We focus on the present and our feelings of emptiness and pain.  Though this stage can seem unending, it is not.  It is a natural emotion response to a traumatic and extremely emotion time in our life.  This is another necessary step because it causes you to take time to think about the person and deal with their absence from your life.

Acceptance
The final stage of grief is acceptance.  Not everyone does in fact get this far.  Doing so however, is a sign of healing.  For those who accept that their time is coming, they will slowly start to reduce their social interaction.  They will also express gratitude and warm wishes to those they love and cherish.  When acceptance is reached by those who are dealing with another person’s death, they will begin to live with the knowledge of that person’s absence.  You start to accept that you will not see that person again in this life.  Accepting loss is not betraying your loved one, it is healing. The pain will not go away all at once or possibly even completely, but it will get better. You will get better.

No matter what circumstances surround someone passing away, know that it’s okay to feel what you’re feeling.  Give yourself time, for time heals all wounds and comforts the deepest pains.

For my many family and friends who are dealing with the loss of your loved ones, I wish you peace and love as you grieve and heal.  Please feel free to send your dedications and condolences in the comment box below.

For Fred…

Image by Stuart Miles: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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About the Author

Alana Johnson

Alana Johnson tries to enjoy the simple things in life and writes for the Lifestyle category on Quality Life Resources. Living in the small New England town of Norwalk, CT, she looks forward to the warm summer months. To submit your own article for my category, please click HERE. View all Self Improvement articles.