Stages of Grief

We have all experienced grief, be it in the strongest form of losing a close relation to death, or the end of a relationship, down to a milder form of grief such as losing a personal possession. Whether the loss is large or small, on an emotional level, the grieving process can be applied to all levels of loss.

Experiencing Grief

Grief itself is a strong emotional process and has various stages it goes through before it can be resolved. In this sense, grief can be likened to an emotional roller-coaster ride as it involved a combination of strong emotions. The end of the grieving process leaves a marked internal change within you.

As a natural process, grief has to be worked through individually in order to maintain a healthy mind body and soul.

5 Stages of Grief

Much research has been carried out in this field, the most commonly known is by Elisabeth Kubler Ross who drew up a chart of the grieving process, breaking it down to 5 separate stages as follows:

  1. Denial: This is a defense mechanism to help you cope with the intense feelings of shock and numbness. It is a strong feeling of disbelief.
  2. Anger: This feeling of anger can be aimed at yourself or anyone around you. Knowing that this stage exists can help you to control your anger better rather than lashing out.
  3. Bargaining: At this stage, you are willing to do almost anything to reverse the hands of time and to get back the loved one. If only…
  4. Depression: This is a strong feeling of helplessness and desolation. You feel powerless to do anything and want to simply give up.
  5. Acceptance: This is the final stage when you accept loss and try to pick up the pieces of what remain and carry on. An internal change has occurred and you finally detach yourself somewhat in order to carry on with your life. Reintegration into society without the loss of the loved one is part of this final stage, although missing them becomes part of their life such as anniversaries.

The above 5 points have been extended and extra feelings have been added, but this is the basic model of grief as regarding the imminent death of self or of a close person.

Ramsay and De Groot, for example, added shock, guilt and anxiety as part of the process as well as the above 5 factors.

If the feelings during the grieving stage are not addressed properly, you can get stuck in a rut, which is known as abnormal grieving.

The extreme version of this abnormality is known as pathological grief. This affects you mentally and physically, hindering your progress in life. This is why it is important to seek external help if after a reasonable amount of time has elapsed and you are still mourning.

Mourning times of course can vary from person to person. The closer the person who died or left you, the longer it takes to recover from the loss.

Remember, the person you lost will always be a part of the life you had. If you focus on the good that they brought to you and helped to shape you into a better person, be thankful that this person was ever a part of your life.

There is a reason this special individual was part of your life at that particular time. Hold on to the beauty of that wonderful and warm memory.

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