Stages of Grief
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What are the stages of grief?
Denial* – “No, this can’t be happening to me! There must be some mistake!” This stage is a conscious or unconscious denial of facts or the reality of the situation. It is a defense mechanism until we are ready to being accepting the loss.
Anger* – “Why me?” This emotion is sometimes aimed at God, doctors, caregivers, family, the one who died, and maybe even aimed at ourselves. It is the natural response to feeling powerless to change the situation or feeling abandoned by the one we lost.
Bargaining* – “God, I promise, if you will just _____ for me, I swear I will ______” This stage is common for those whose loved one is suffering a life-threatening illness or injury.
False Guilt – “If only…” “I should have...” “Why didn’t I …?” We might be upset with ourselves for saying hurtful things, not spending time with someone, not showing kindness, etc. Or we might think we could have somehow prevented the loss.
Depression* – “Why go on?” Loneliness, self-pity, and isolation are emotional drainers that can cause depression. Grief is entering our lives in a deeper level and it is important to remember that this is a normal response to loss.
Acceptance* – “I can’t deny it any longer; it really did happen to me.” Feeling this way doesn’t mean that everything is now okay. It is a realization and acceptance that we much adapt to life without our loved one. We must learn to adjust to a new normal.
Hope and Healing – “I’ll survive. It was really tough, but I’m going to make it.’’ Through the support of those around us and having time for emotional healing, we regain hope. We seek to refocus on the “better” instead of becoming “bitter.”
Stages of Grief and Loss – A Word from Survivors
*These are the stages most commonly associated with grief and loss.
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