Five Stages of Grief
The individual simply does not believe the loss is real. Denial acts as an emotional buffer so the person is not overwhelmed. Denial provides time for the truth to be slowly absorbed. Other ways of coping will replace denial. The person may appear extremely calm or even express surprising reactions such as laughing instead of crying.
The individual begins to believe the loss is real and feels a great deal of anger. Anger may be directed at those around them, the person who passed, oneself, God or the world at large. This can be a difficult time for others to cope with because anger can be random and directed at others without cause.
The individual wants to 'turn back the hands of time.' There is a deep desire to change what has happened by promising to do something different. The individual wants to make a pact with God and it is usually kept private. This stage is a postponement of accepting the truth.
The individual has accepted the reality of loss and that this will not change. The person becomes extremely sad and possibly withdrawn. The person may dwell on the past and have difficulty having hope for a brighter future or ever feeling happy again.
The individual has accepted the loss fully. The anger and depression has been replaced by a sense of peace. The person will remain saddened by the loss but can now feel hope for happiness in the future. The person is able to function and can begin to live three life instead of just focusing on the pain of the loss.
These stages are not static. They can occur in different orders or a stage may not even appear. A stage may seem to be resolved and reappear at a later time. It is difficult to judge how long a person remains in a stage as if depends on the individual. These stages are the normal healthy process of healing from a loss.