Grief is a natural response to losing a loved one. Everyone grieves differently and we may feel like we can’t control the process, however, understanding the emotions we are feeling is the first step towards healing.
The stages of grief can assist us in understanding our emotions by outlining some common feelings we may experience when grieving. It is important to note that the stages are non-linear, and everyone experiences them differently. We may jump between the stages, experience them out of order, or only experience one of the stages as we deal with our grief. Here are the stages of grief:
Denial | When we first learn of a loss, it’s not unusual to deny what is happening. This is a coping mechanism and a temporary way to deal with the rush of overwhelming emotion.
Anger | As reality sets in, we’re faced with the pain surrounding a loss. This pain can later turn into anger. We might direct it toward other people, a higher power, our lost loved one, or life in general.
Bargaining | During this stage, it’s not uncommon to look for ways to regain control. We dwell on what we could have done to prevent the loss. Common thoughts are “If only…” and “What if…”
Depression* | In early stages of grief, we run from our emotions. In this stage, we may acknowledge and work through emotions even if it is hard. Sadness sets in as we begin to understand the loss and its effect on our lives.
Acceptance | In this stage of grief, we accept our loss and the reality of it. Hopefully, there are more good days than bad, and we are able to start moving forward with our lives.
Knowing and acknowledging the stages of grief may help us understand our emotions and open the door to healing. Taking care of ourselves, spending time with family and friends, and speaking with a mental health expert may also assist in the grieving process.
When you feel ready to spend time with family and friends, Farewell Partners can help to create a safe space to remember your loved one.
*Depression may feel like an overwhelming emotion when dealing with a loss. If you feel stuck, talk with a mental health expert. A therapist can help you work through these emotions.