Stages of Grief
Grief can display itself in many different forms. A definite process is difficult to outline, as grief through the loss of a loved one is a private and sensitive time, which cannot be defined by expected feelings or reactions. Yet, there are common stages of grief, which emphasise certain emotional responses, which can trigger immediately, or through a process of realisation, such as the “first times”.
The stages of grief:
Denial: Representing feelings of numbness and disbelief is a way of protecting oneself from the realisation of loss. Living in denial is an initial feeling, after losing a loved one, attaching to hope to work through both shock and sadness.
Anger: Feeling blame and guilt are emotional responses to processing grief, which can display through angry outbursts. Blaming oneself, others or choices as the cause of loss is common here, familiarly seen through the “first times” after losing a loved one.
Bargaining: Thinking of alternative reasons, possible outcomes and bargains is the next stage of grief, acting as a distraction from the reality of loss. This again acts as a coping strategy, to protect oneself from the reality of losing a loved one.
Depression: Low feelings are expected throughout the grieving process. The development of mental health issues, at this stage, are common, and can be very damaging for those with pre-existing vulnerabilities and triggers. This stage of grief resembles an emotional roller-coaster, reflecting symptoms of depression, despair, and hopelessness.
Acceptance: Acceptance can take some time, and for some, can be very difficult to work towards. Accepting the loss of a loved one will display the realisation of what’s ahead, by offering closure, by instead celebrating life, and by instead remembering the good.
The stages of grief can materialise differently across the experience of losing a loved one, and dealing with grief will vary for every individual. Due to the weight of “firsts”, grief can make such experiences even harder to digest. Coping with the “first times” after losing a loved one, through personal strategies will therefore be recommended, to deal with both grief and the acceptance of loss.