Grief is omnipresent in our lives. We have no choice in facing it. When we hear the word mourning, we immediately think of death. Grieving over the death of a loved one is arguably the most challenging ordeal to overcome. We have managed to grieve because we have gone through the 7 stages of grief.
However, grief can occur in other types of situations, and the 7 stages are found in each of these. For example, difficult life stages such as illness (grief for being in good health), loss of a job, separation (mourning for a perfect married life), not being able to have children (family mourning), to name a few.
Grieving is a natural and necessary emotion. Dr. Kubler Ross has divided the grieving process into 7 distinct stages, making it easier to understand the stages we go through. Moreover, it is from his model that I was inspired to write this article.
As you read, you will be able to identify what stage you are at. You can take the opportunity to analyze the path you have traveled so far and prepare for what is to come. You will see by understanding each of the 7 stages of grief. It is much easier to accept that what you are going through is completely normal.
The 7 stages of grief
1st step: Announcing the news
The first step occurs when the news is announced. It is the stage of SHOCK or DENIAL. At this stage, you are unable to believe what is happening to you. It’s like being in a nightmare from which you don’t wake up. No matter how strongly you pinch yourself, you don’t feel anything, and things are not getting better.
When my son passed away, I remember I was unable to speak. I couldn’t feel my body anymore. My knees gave way. My blood was rushing through my veins, and I had no idea what was going on around me.
After the shock of the news, you keep believing that it’s not true, that you will wake up, and that everything will be fine.
I thought that the hospital would call me to tell me that my son was still alive.
When denial kicks in, you want to pretend nothing has happened, and you want to continue living your life as before. So, you get dizzy in a thousand things, you try as best you can to go about your business, and you act as if everything is expected despite the sadness and pain.
In the end, you realize that you can no longer continue at this rate.
Step 2: You blame the whole world
Then you start to blame the whole earth. That means that you are in the ANGER stage. You are angry that you no longer have what you had, and you blame all those who have what you no longer have.
For the first time, you realize that nothing will be the same again. Me, I was angry for a long time, too long. And, when I thought that I had managed to overcome my anger, it would come back. I was very angry with a lot of people.
Also I was angry with pregnant women and all mothers. Moreover, they don’t know they are lucky to have a healthy and alive child.
However, my anger is with the people who asked me if I had children or if I would have another. I said to myself: “It’s none of their business. Why is everyone asking this question?”
I was angry with those who were happy because I envied their happiness.
Also, those complained about silliness, who complained about the temperature, who complained of having a headache. I said to myself: “No, but we don’t care so much.”
This period eventually passes, and anger gives way to other emotions.
3rd step: Why me?
Then comes the MERCHANT phase. At that point, you need to find someone to blame for what you are going through. Do you often ask yourself: Why is this happening to me? In reality, you are negotiating as to who is to blame. You tell yourself that by finding the cause of all this, you will be able to overcome this mountain, and you will be able to move on.
First, you look back and wonder if something you said or something you did is the cause. You have regrets, and you tell yourself that you shouldn’t have done this or that.
When I got into the bargaining stage, I honestly thought I was being punished. Every day I would say to myself: ” But what did I do to deserve this ?” Why are others entitled to it and not me? ”
Therefore, the answer is difficult to find, and you certainly do not deserve this suffering. However, one day you will learn from it, and you will come out stronger. Believe me; you can overcome this ordeal.
For my part, I got stuck in this step for a very long time. As I couldn’t find answers to my questions, I went to see a psychic, so I could move on and keep moving forward. You have the right to judge me en masse and not to believe it !! But, after almost two years of anger and questioning, this is what I needed.
She told me that it was not me who was targeted in this drama. I was open the door to welcome this little soul whose mission was to come to earth to serve medicine.
Loan lived for three months but had to die. He stayed longer because of the lady with the smile. And the lady with the smile, it was me! It was so heartwarming to hear that!
The words of this lady made me believe in something and hold on to it. Whether this is true or not does matter to me! What is important is that thanks to this meeting, I was able to continue to move forward.
And you? How did you get out of the bargaining stage? What did you hold on to? What did you believe in to be able to move on?
4th step: At the bottom of the well
Then comes the Depression phase. It is a tough time, marked with great sadness. Here, you have the impression of finding yourself at the bottom of a dark well. You feel alone in your home, even though many people around you want your good and are worried about you.
When you enter the depression phase, most of the people around you have already moved on. That’s why it’s hard for you to imagine why they see things differently. On the other hand, for them, it’s hard to understand why you don’t, in turn, move on.
At first, it hurt me. I didn’t see how people could forget that my son was dead.
Today, I understand better what he meant. People don’t forget the event itself. They forget that you still feel sorry. They don’t know how much of a daily fight you’ve been fighting for quite a while.
So, you bury yourself in your grief. You have drawn features, no appetite, or you don’t want to see anyone. Even if yet you know that you need to feel loved and surrounded.
Nothing turns you on; you feel empty. As a result, you feel a strong need to fill this void. You think that by filling it, it will hurt less. So you fill it with temporary things. Little pleasures through which you feel you live.
I didn’t want to stay there. And, probably neither can you. It’s not a super trippy time.
You know, it’s okay to be in depression when you’ve been through something difficult. However, it is also important to want to get up and face the rest of the storm.
Step 5: The light is at the end of the tunnel
At this stage, you slowly come back from your depression, gradually accepting what you went through. That is the Acceptance phase. At this moment, you become more positive and that you can foresee a future where the sun is shining a little more!
Here, you change because you are more and more able to take a step back, redefine your values, establish your limits, and move forward.
Finally, you feel that you have enough strength to start setting small goals initially, and more prominent and more extensive and more significant later.
In the acceptance phase, I chose myself and started to care a little less about what other people thought. I moved away from people who didn’t bring me happiness. And started meeting people who looked more like me.
I have decided to accept that nothing will be the same again. Also, I promised myself to stop being afraid of everything. From that moment on, I decided to live in the moment and embrace life because you have one.
6th step: And you forgive
One day you end up forgiving. Forgive the situation, the other, those who made you suffer. But above all, you end up forgiving yourself. That is the stage of Forgiveness! In the end, it is a sign that you are reaching the end of the path!
You forgive yourself for having felt sorry, for having said mean things because you were in too much pain, for having sunk, for being selfish during tough years, for having left your life before.
You forgive yourself because you know that your emotions and the road traveled have brought you here. Finally, you forgive yourself because you have a strength that you never had before, because you no longer look back, but forward and because you know that it will be better now!
Step 7: Life finally takes on its meaning
In the end, the moment you’ve been waiting for so long arrives! You had to work so hard to get there! It’s true, it’s been a long and arduous journey, but now it’s worth it. You are entering the SERENITY phase or THE QUEST FOR SENSE.
At this stage, you find meaning in life, in your life. Positive changes are happening, and it feels good. Here, you take full advantage of what life has to offer! You smile and marvel at not much!
FAQ on 7 stages of grief
- When a person dies, words?
Sometimes less is more and a simple: “I am sorry,” “I accompany you in the feeling,”. Or “I am sorry for your loss,” said from the heart and with a sincere gesture. They can be more effective than trying to find words of consolation that do not arrive and that they can make us err, even if our wish is good.
- What is the most challenging duel to overcome?
The article about love grief shows the stages of this process, leading to anger, denial, depression, and pseudo-acceptance.
- What is an unresolved duel?
Unresolved grief: The person remains trapped in circular thoughts about the deceased person and circumstances of death, without returning to their everyday life, trying to find explanations, and seeking justice.
- What to do when faced with a pathological duel?
Complicated grief is usually treated with a type of psychotherapy called “complicated grief therapy.” It is similar to the psychotherapy techniques used for depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, but it is specific for complicated grief.
Conclusion on 7 stages of grief
It is long and challenging to go through grief. You move forward, move back, and experience all kinds of emotions you do not yet know. It is a process in which you have to go through one hour at a time, one day at a time. You will have to learn to tame sadness and pain to be able to live with it daily.
Now, can you better identify the stages you went through and understand where you are now?Don’t worry; I promise you can find happiness again!If I made it, you can too!