Further Stages of Grief
Grief is a process of physical, emotional, social and cognitive reactions
to loss. The grieving process is hard to work through! One needs to be patient
with themselves or others experiencing loss. Studies have found that people
often go through stages or phases of grief. Although responses to loss are as
diverse as the people experiencing it, patterns of stages commonly experienced
have emerged. Some stages of grief reactions are described below.
A feeling of numbness can last hours to weeks. It is a period often
described as 'unreal,' (i.e., being amazed to have made it though a
euthanasia). Some reactions people experience during this stage are: having
disorganized thoughts, feeling unaffected, thinking about suicide, feeling
numb, being euphoric or hysterical, feeling outside their body, or being
talkative, hyper or passive. Other people will feel in denial of the loss.
(i.e. ' I can't believe he is really gone...it just doesn't seem real.)
People will often find themselves acutely missing the person that is gone.
Individuals in this phase can be preoccupied with thoughts of the deceased;
they may have dreams about the person who is gone. Reactions experienced may
also include sensing that one sees or hear the person outside their home.
Feelings commonly experienced are intense pining, sadness, fear, anger,
relief, irritability, guilt and yearning. Sometimes anger is not directed at
the loss, but instead towards a family member, self or God. During this period
individuals may find themselves bursting into tears at unexpected times.
People may also experience physical illness, pain, weight change, fatigue and
change in appetite.
During this phase individuals are beginning to live their lives without
that person and learning new skills. This commonly leads to feeling
disorganized, as well as needing to evaluate and learn different ways of
People in grief forget that grief is a process and that though this
process, new coping skills are learned. The person has passed is usually never
forgotten. In the case of death, most individuals never 'get over' the loss.
However, survivors learn to live with the loss. The intensity of the loss
changes, and a survivor can rejoin life. One finds that they can eat and
sleep. Sadness and crying still occur at times, while simultaneously increased
happiness will be experienced.