Stages of Dealing with Grief

The following is an excerpt from a web-page article "The Stages of Dealing with Grief". You can certainly find other models for the stages of grief. None of them are perfect:

…There are certain stages of grief.

Shock – Immediately following the death of a loved one it is difficult to accept the loss. A feeling of unreality occurs. During those first days and through any religious rituals or memorials there is a feeling of being-out-of-touch.

Emotional Release – the awareness of just how dreadful the loss is accompanied by intense pangs of grief. In this stage a grieving individuals sleeps badly and weeps uncontrollably

Panic – For some time a grieving person can feel in the grip of mental instability. They can find themselves wandering around aimlessly, forgetting things, and not being able to finish what they started. Physical symptoms also can appear -- tightness in the throat, heaviness in the chest, an empty feeling in the stomach, tiredness and fatigue, headaches, migraine headaches, gastric and bowel upsets.

Guilt – At this stage an individual can begin to feel guilty about failures to do enough for the deceased, guilt over what happened or what didn’t happen.

Hostility – Some individuals feel anger at what "caused" the loss of the loved one.

Inability to Resume Business-as-Usual Activities - the ability to concentrate on day-to-day activities may be severely limited. It is important to know and recognize that this is a normal phenomenon. A grieving person’s entire being – emotional, physical and spiritual, is focused on the loss that just occurred. Grief is a 100% experience. No one does it at 50%.

Reconciliation of Grief – balance in life returns little by little, much like healing from a severe physical wound. There are no set timeframes for healing. Each individual is different.

Hope – the sharp, ever present pain of grief will lessen and hope for a continued, yet different life emerges. Plans are made for the future and the individual is able to move forward in life with good feelings knowing they will always remember and have memories of the loved one.

Written by Gerry Trickle