Losing someone is incredibly devastating and everyone deals with it in different ways. There are no right or wrong ways to grieve or cope with the death of a loved. We hope that by going through these five stages of grief you will be able to better understand what you are going through and be mindful of how you are dealing with death.
What are the five stages of grief?
The five stages many of us go through after losing someone are:
These five stages were initially conceptualised to reflect the emotions experienced by terminally ill patients and their close ones, however now they are also used to generally describe how we react to death. Commonly we think that they happen in order but in truth, we all experience these differently. It is best to use this run through to be mindful of how you are feeling as there are no correct ways to deal with loss.
So what could you be feeling whilst grieving?
- Denial - denial usually follows right after someone has died - “I don’t believe it” or “This can’t be happening” are common immediate thoughts. You might be feeling numb or empty, or that there must’ve been a mistake. It is hard to come to terms with someone passing away and often we can’t believe things are going to be different from before. The key to dealing with denial is to just give yourself time. You will only be able to accept it when you are ready. If you know someone experiencing this then it is important to be patient with them.
- Anger - it is also normal to feel anger when someone dies. Anger at them for leaving so much behind, or perhaps anger at yourself for not doing something or spending time with your loved one. Additionally, you may feel angry with the circumstances around the death or that it is unfair. Anger isn’t a bad thing at all and it is important to express how you feel. Make sure to talk about it with those close to you and if you need you can find somewhere private to let it all out.
- Bargaining - Bargaining can be a way of making sense of someone no longer being around. Thoughts that start with ‘what if’ and ‘if only’ are a way of finding relief from the pain of loss. It will take time to come to terms and accept that you cannot change what has happened. This is another natural response to losing someone and you shouldn’t feel worried or more upset by wanting to change the world around you.
- Depression - Feeling hopeless, sad and numb after someone dies is natural. Not wanting to socialise, crying, having trouble with daily life will come and go in waves. This, of course, won’t last forever but whilst it does it is important to keep looking after yourself and seek support if you need it. A routine can help so be sure to exercise, eat well and find support from those close to you.
- Acceptance - Often the last stage acceptance means that you have made peace with your loss and come to terms with it. This doesn’t mean you won’t have times now and then where you experience grief but it means that you are ready to start enjoying life again and coming back to reality. Getting to this point takes time and is different for everyone.
Once again losing a loved one can be one of the hardest things to cope with.
We have a partnership with the National Bereavement Service, if you need help call them on 0800 0248092. They will be able to help whether you need to chat or just final local bereavement groups.