You may have heard of the five stages of grief, but what are they, does everyone go through them, and what do they mean for your grieving process?
The Five Stages of Grief were developed by Elisabeth Kubler Ross back in the late 1960s. She developed her model to describe the grief people go through when faced with a terminal illness, but they were adapted as a way of thinking about death and grief in general.
What are the five stages of grief?
The five stages of grief are: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance. While they are a great way to help you understand your grief, everyone’s experience of grief is unique, and not everyone will go through the five stages, nor will they go through them in a set order. They are just a way to help you come to terms with your loss and understand why you feel the way you do.
Many people describe feeling numb after losing a loved one – like you have all feeling stripped away. Many people just carry on with their lives as normal, but this can signify that you are not accepting that the person is gone, that you are denying that they have died. This is a perfectly natural part of the grieving process which many people experience.
Depending on how your loved one dies, you may be feeling anger, resentment or frustration which can make you feel guilty because you may think that these feelings are not acceptable. You may feel angry at them for leaving you, the circumstances in which they died, or at the world for taking your loved one away. You may even feel angry at yourself for not doing more to prevent their death. Understand that anger is a perfectly natural response to a person’s death.
Losing someone is very difficult and can be hard to accept. Sometimes, we may bargain with ourselves or with God or a higher power, that if we do certain things or act in certain way, we will feel better. You may also find yourself going over and over the circumstances of their death, asking yourself many ‘what if’ questions, and wishing that you could go back and do things better, or change things to prevent their death.
Sadness and depression are the feelings we most associate with death. For some people, these feelings come immediately after your loved on has passed, but for others they come later on. Whenever it arrives, this pain can be very intense and it can feel that there is no way out of it. Life can suddenly feel that is has no meaning and you may struggle to carry on with your normal day to day existence. This is completely natural and all part of you coming to terms with your loss.
There is no set timeline on when acceptance will come. For some people, it can come after a couple of months and they can begin to integrate their loss into their life quite quickly. For others, the feelings of deep sadness can linger for a long time, preventing you from moving on with your life.
If you are struggling with your grief and it is preventing you from moving on with your life, I am here to provide confidential, non-judgemental bereavement counselling in Beaconsfield and online. Get in touch to arrange an initial consultation at a time that suits you.