Five Stages of Grief
Stage I: DENIAL
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.
Stage II: ANGER
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.
Stage III: BARGAINING
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.
Stage IV: DEPRESSION
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 The person becomes extremely sad and possibly withdrawn.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.
Stage V: ACCEPTANCE
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been replaced by a sense of peace.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.