We can experience grief whenever there is a loss. The loss of health, a close relationship and of course death.
The five stages of grief are universal. They do not necessarily occur in any particular order, although the final stage is always Acceptance.
Each stage has different lengths of working through each step. Each stage has different levels of intensity. Grief is experienced differently by everyone both internally and externally.
The key is to understand what stage you are in; which can provide awareness and hope that the awareness is used as a guideline.
DENIAL & ISOLATION
Deny the reality of the situation, rationalize the emotions (no matter how overwhelming they may feel), be prepared for your defenses to go up, this helps buffer the shock. You will find yourself blocking out words and hiding from the facts. These are all temporary responses that help with carrying you through.
This can be a difficult stage to get through, especially if you have difficulty feeling anger. You will be mad at yourself, at them, the universe. The anger masks the heartbreak you are feeling as well as, assists you in coming to grips with reality.
This is brought on by the ultimate helplessness that you are feeling. You feel vulnerable and attempt to regain control. You will experience a lot of “If only... .” Bargaining can also lead to accessing a higher power in an attempt to postpone the inevitable.
There are two types of depression that are associated with mourning. These are both practical implications relating to loss:
(1) Sadness and regret. There is a lot of worry about the details and others that have
been affected by loss.
(2) Quiet preparation to separate and say good-bye.
Some people do not get this gift. Loss can happen suddenly and you may never be able to see beyond anger and denial. During acceptance you are not experiencing happiness or are depressed.
There are resources out there to help you through your grief and loss. The people around you can offer you patience, understanding, listening, support and time. These are things that are needed.
Resisting is futile and takes so much needed energy away from you. One can only live in their grief for so long before it begins to eat away at them. If it is not processed one will stay within stages 1-4. That is no way to live. Whatever the loss is, you need to ask yourself is it worth your own quality of life?