Understanding the 5 Stages of Grief
By understanding the process of grief we can make sense of the variety of emotions we may be experiencing. Anyone who has experienced deep grief can relate to the ‘waves’ of emotion that can arise and then subside. Grieving is not linear and each stage may be felt at anytime until the final stage of acceptance is reached and maintained consistently.
As a response to the initial shock, the protective method of denial comes to the fore to buffer the hurt. We may even isolate ourselves from others to avoid the truth we do not want to face.
As we get to a point where we can no longer deny the truth, but are not ready to feel our hurt, we use anger to mask the pain we do not want to feel. Anger may be directed at the loved one, at yourself or even at God, especially if your partner has died.
In an attempt to make some semblance of being in control again we can bargain with ourselves, “if only I had been more loving”, or “If I hadn’t ignored him so much he wouldn’t have left me for someone else”, “maybe if I change she will take me back?”. This is our last line of defence before the dropping into the painful reality.
When we realise we are not able to fight the truth any longer we may simply withdraw from life, there is a sense of defeat or giving up. This withdrawal creates a space within in that is felt as a deep emptiness, which is depression.
In this final stage we begin to accept the truth, that our loved one has gone and will not be returning but realising that there is life after death so to speak. We commit back to life and start to feel ourselves again.