When you lose someone or something that was important to your life you will go through one or several reactions. The loss can be experienced as a sudden shock or can be the realization that you have lost someone or something that is not coming back. So now you have to deal with the facts and move on somehow. The famous grief specialist Elisabeth Kubler-Ross proposed the following stages of grief based on her work with hundreds of clients going through grief. The stages gives you an overview of some of the feelings you may be experiencing. And they may not be experienced by you in the same order as described below.
Denial – The first reaction is denial. In this stage individuals believe the diagnosis or the fact of the loss is somehow mistaken, and cling to a false hope or tries to explain and come up with a better version reality.
Anger – When the individual recognizes that denial cannot continue, they become frustrated, especially at other individuals, but it can also be at other situations in life. You may ask: “Why me? It’s not fair!”; “How can this happen to me?”; ‘”Who is to blame?”; “Why would this happen?”
Bargaining – The third stage involves the hope that the individual can avoid the grief. Usually, the negotiation for an extended life is made in exchange for a reformed lifestyle. People facing less serious trauma can bargain or seek compromise.
Depression – In this stage you feel dark and gloomy. Feel hopeless and exhausted. There is no hope. You have thought of death and loss.
During the fourth stage, the individual despairs at the recognition of their mortality. In this state, the individual may become silent, refuse visitors and spend much of the time mournful and sullen.
Acceptance – You feel some hope again. You feel more in balance and the future is more bright. “It’s going to be okay.”; “I can’t fight it, I may as well prepare for it.”
In this last stage, individuals embrace mortality or inevitable future, or that of a loved one, or other tragic event. People dying may precede the survivors in this state, which typically comes with a calm, retrospective view for the individual, and a stable condition of emotions.