The 5 Stages of Grief
The 5 Stages of Grief
The 5 stages of grief are a set of steps that one personally takes in dealing with loss. Everyone experiences the stages in a different way, and for different lengths of time. It is important to understand each stage and why it is important in the grieving process.
Denial is the first stage. Whether you hear the news of someone’s passing, or see it before your eyes. For most people, denial is a stage of numbness to the world. You cannot accept what has happened, and life ceases to make sense for a while. Denial is your brain easing you into the grieving process. You were just thrown into the deep end; but denial works as a way to keep you afloat. In many ways, it is a survival mechanism. As you shift to the next stage of the process, the feelings bottled up by denial break through to the surface.
Anger is the second stage. Bottled up emotions explode to the surface. You are faced now with this brick wall of truth. And it hurts. You can kick and punch the truth, but it won’t change. You may get angry at others, yourself, God; even the one who died. You may even question your beliefs. Anger is the opening of the flood gates. Emotions spilling out and and becoming raw energy. Rage, resentment, animosity, and hatred flow out. But that is a part of the process. As the anger subsides, these avenues of emotions provide an opening for the next stage.
Bargaining is the third stage of grief. When the rage subsides, we are left with a desire for things to return to the way they were before. Bargaining with yourself, or God, or whoever. You would give up anything, if only to wake up from this bad dream. But unfortunately, you can’t turn back the clock. The pain of loss is not easy to bear. We look for ways to return to how we felt before by asking for that person to return. When we realize, finally, that we can’t change what has happened. It is then, that we slip into the next stage.
Depression is the fourth stage. It is here that we are filled with empty feelings and darker thoughts. We are lost in a fog of sadness. Isolation and dread set in. It is a cold place to be in. We feel alone, cut off from the rest of the world. Depression after a loss is natural. It is actually more unusual to not experience this stage. It is your body and mind finally realizing and admitting that there is an emptiness left by this person. You don’t accept it yet, but your inner self does. It is part of the healing process. It may be ugly, but in time, it will get better.
Acceptance is the fifth and final stage of grief. This does not mean that you are alright with the loss of your loved one; but you are coming to terms with the reality of your situation. You begin to piece your life together, under what has become the new norm. Your life may have changed a little, or a lot. Plans need to be changed, and roles may need to be filled. But that is part of acceptance. Picking up the pieces, and putting them together as best as you can.
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