Understanding the Stages of Grief
The passing of a loved one can leave an empty space behind. You miss everything from their voice to their presence. The recovery process can be long and frustrating, but people eventually get out of this cycle of grief. Researchers believe there are five stages of grief and everyone goes through them in one way or another. Here’s a brief look at these stages:
Step 1 - Denial
When tragedy happens, almost everyone experiences denial. Even people who are prepared for the inevitable experience it and refuse to accept the loss. Denial doesn’t last for long, but it can be strong.
Step 2 - Anger
Anger is the first step on the road to acceptance. Grieving individuals often feel a surge of anger stemming from helplessness or lack of control. They want the entire world to stop and mourn with them, and experience anger when that doesn’t happen. This is also a normal and healthy response to grief. It can last for a long time, especially if their loss was unexpected.
Step 3 - Depression
This is the longest stage and is very painful. People have accepted their loss and now feel a loved one's absence keenly. They don’t have anger, denial, and “what ifs” to distract them from the pain.
Step 4 - Bargaining
Grieving individuals get past their anger and start asking “what if” questions. They second guess every decision and wonder if they could have prevented loss. This is a transition period as people move on from their initial pain.
Step 5 – Acceptance
This is the final step. Grieving individuals reach a point where their loss doesn’t overpower them. They move on with their lives, reflecting on positive memories instead of the grief.