Grief is something that everyone experiences at some point in their life, most commonly due to the loss of a loved one or friend but grief can also occur due to the loss of something else significant in our lives, such as our health. Grief is a natural part of life and something that we all have to try and work through at some point. The journey through grief will be different for everyone and some will be able to work through it quickly and others may take much longer and may even continue to be affected by grief throughout their lives.
The Five Stages of Grief
The five stages of grief were first proposed by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross in her book Death and Dying. They can be applied to a variety of circumstances including the loss of a close relationship, the death of a valued being (person or animal), or in response to a terminal illness diagnosis.
1.) Denial and Isolation
The first stage of grief is denial and isolation. Typically, when we first receive unexpected or unpleasant news, our initial response is to become overwhelmed with emotions and deny the situation.
After initially denying the situation, people often begin to experience anger. This is a result of the pain and vulnerable feelings that come from receiving unpleasant news. To cope with this we direct these feelings outward as anger.
This is when we try to bargain and figure out a way for people to improve the situation. It is not uncommon for people to try to talk to God or a higher power as a way to postpone or change the situation.
Depression usually occurs for two different reasons. The first is when we are considering the practical implications of the loss. This includes worrying about finances and other matters. The second reason is more personal and when we are preparing to say goodbye to our loved one and adjust to life without them.
The final stage is acceptance. This is when we begin to calm and move past the depression stage. It does not mean a period of happiness but rather making peace with the situation.
Further information and support with grief: