Jan 31, 2010

5 Stages of Grief and Loss

Everyday, people face different emotions in life. At most often times they tend to be happy and be responsive with everything that life has to meet. People interact with this in a different way. Sometimes they accept this positively, or most likely negative. One of the enemies of every people in every day living is an experience of Loss or Grief.

Grief as defined is a multi-faceted response to loss, particularly to the loss of someone or something to which a bond was formed.

Loss consist of anything ranging from, employment status, pets, safety, order, possessions or the most common one which is the loss of family or loved ones. People have different responses for this type of challenge and researchers had moved away from conventional insights of grief (which they think that people can move on in a series of orderly and predictable series of responses to loss) which are considered to be influenced by personality, family, culture and spiritual and religious beliefs and practices. Although conventionally focused on the emotional response to loss, it also has physical, cognitive, behavioral, social, and philosophical dimensions. Common to human experience is the death of a loved one, whether it is a friend, family, or other companion. While the terms are often used interchangeably, bereavement often refers to the state of loss, and grief to the reaction to loss.

Bereavement, while a normal part of life, carries a degree of risk when limited support is available. Severe reactions to loss may carry over into familial relations and cause trauma for children, spouses and any other family members: there is an increased risk of marital breakup following the death of a child, for example. Issues of faith and beliefs may also face challenge, as bereaved persons reassess personal definitions in the face of great pain.

In everyday living, we may encounter one or two of these. Grieving life loss is probably one of the most painful parts of life. This experience of loss is usually described by one word more than any other grieving. With regards to this, I think it would be wise and imperative for us to know what the stages of emotion that people underwent when they are on grief. On this way will be able to understand their emotions and we can start from there on where to help them. Expect these process of emotions would not come in sequence when someone is grieving. This was based from the book of Elisabeth Kubler-Ross entitling “On Death and Dying”.

# 1 – DENIAL

Usually our first reaction to the loss of something we're attached to is denial. Some people deny the death of a loved one so much that they won't let anyone refer to them as 'gone'. They will refer to imaginary conversations as if they had happened. What we all need to know is, denial is normal.

#2 – ANGER

This stage of grief is probably the cause of the most pain from grief. Anger can cause deep and sometimes permanent wounds that are totally unnecessary. You will experience anger in your grief. You may perceive that someone "harmed" you in some way. This stage of grief is probably a major cause of law suits, but, even if you win, all you get is money. You lose the years you allowed the anger to consume you. Let it go. Forgive them. It will give you the ability to heal from your loss.


This is as strange a grief behavior as Denial. It's where we try to make deals to gain back what we lost. Everyone bargains over a loss in some way, trying to somehow regain what they've lost. Some people try too fast after the loss of a spouse to "replace" them. This is the bargaining part of grief and is normal but it has potentially harmful consequences. It prevents you from healing from your grief and it opens you up to picking someone who is not your lost loved one. Once reality sets in, both people are usually deeply hurt. Try to finish processing your grief (usually 2-3 years) before entering a serious relationship. If you find yourself or a loved one going to unusual extremes to recover a loss, understand it's the bargaining part of grief, try to protect them and cut them some slack.


This is the most dangerous stage of grief. Everyone goes through depression before they can heal from a major loss. It's possible to will yourself to death if you don't get over the depression stage of grief. With some people, depression is so deep; they don't wait for natural causes. If you feel you or a loved one is too deeply depressed over a loss, look at Depression Treating for ideas. The closer the attachment, the deeper and longer the depression will be.

There is always light at the end of the tunnel, but for someone suffering a great loss, the tunnel is long and dark. Unless there is a suicide threat or they are about to lose their job, house, etc. it's better to let the grieving person work through their depression.

When we're going through this part of the grief process, all of life seems pointless but then we start to see some joyful things. We almost feel guilty when we laugh or enjoy something because the one we lost isn't there.

Then we start to realize that they won't be there, in a physical sense, for the rest of our lives. We choose to be happy anyway. Not happy because they're gone, but happy despite their absence, and happy because that's what they would have wanted. That transition is what brings us to the final stage.


This isn't all bells and fireworks. It's a decision to be at peace with the way things are, to know that no amount of denial, bargaining, anger or depression is going to recover our loss. We begin to accept that loss is part of life. It's not good or bad, its just how it is. So we decide to go on, to find joy in our lives and to bring joy to the lives of others. The noblest sign of acceptance I've seen is when a grieving person, uses his empty spot as motivation to try to make the lives around him less empty. You can't get any fuller than when you're overflowing to someone else.

How to Deal With Grief

We are all different and deal with grief in different ways. The above stages are meant to help us get a handle on our grief, not to bind us to a grief procedure. Hopefully, understanding there are some general things we have in common can help us the next time we have a loss. We can find it easier to deal with emotions if they aren't a surprise. We can find it easier to express those emotions if we know others feel them, too. In sharing this way, maybe we can all heal faster and stronger and so, be ready when another grieves.

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