Grief can be a unique thing for each person who goes through it. There are also different reasons to grieve. The most common reason is the loss of someone we love to death. However, we also may go through a grieving process when we have a break up in a relationship, or loss of a good friend, loss of a job, move to a new place. for any number of reasons even leaving or being kicked out of a religious group, or a cult or organization it can cause grief to come over us. When we have something that is close to our heart and we no longer have it, or the choice is for our higher good to refrain from it can bring about grief. Some religions practice shunning as a form of trying to get you to return. That could very well trigger grief. 

 5 Common stages of grief are.

The first being denial. This is the stage where you go about life trying to be normal, yet nothing feels normal. You may be in shock, you may feel numb. You are just trying to get through each day. as if everything is ok yet nothing feels ok.  You may find yourself picking up the phone to call a loved one who is no longer here or will not talk to you and asks you to not contact them. As the denial begins to fade you may start to question things. Why? How? You are unknowingly starting a healing process. Denial is starting to fade. All your feelings are beginning to surface.

The second stage being anger. This is an important stage that at times seems like it may never end. The more you truly feel into it the more it will dissipate, and healing will take place. It may help to know that the root of most angry behavior is hurt or fear. If we get to the cause of the anger and admit it (being hurt or afraid), we have a chance to understand ourselves, to deal directly with the root cause.

 Anger is strength giving us something to anchor our emotions to that has no boundaries, for we can be angry at anyone or thing at any given time. That can feel comforting when we feel so much despair it’s like being lost at sea with nothing in sight. There are many more emotions that will rise from under that anger.  Anger can show us the intensity of our love.

The third stage being bargaining. You would do anything to have them back. It feels as if you are in a bad dream. All the shoulda, coulda, woulda’s start flooding our minds. What if I would have done… I could have…. If only floods our mind. We may begin to bargain with the pain. We would do anything not to have to feel such pain. We remain in the past trying to find a way out of the hurt.

The fourth stage being depression.  After bargaining we often move into the present. Emptiness often presents itself and grief presents itself on a level many have never imagined. Depression can set in. its important to know and understand this is a part of grief not a mental illness although may feel much like it. It is an appropriate response to great loss. You may be asking yourself why go on? A state of depression is a normal state after a loss of a loved one. If it feels as if grief is completely taking over your life and you begin to feel hopeless, helpless, and worthless, then it’s time to talk to your doctor about telling the difference between normal grief and depression.

The fifth stage acceptance.
This stage is about accepting the fact that our loved one is permanently gone. Not that we agree with any facts except just that. We will never feel it is ok it is just the new norm that we must learn to live with, a realization of our loved one not returning within this life time.

Now its time to try and live life without the beloved love one.  In resisting this new norm, at first many people want to maintain life as it was before a loved one died. In time, through bits and pieces of acceptance, however, we see that we cannot maintain the past intact. It has been forever changed and we must readjust. We must learn to reorganize roles, re-assign them to others or take them on ourselves. Finding acceptance may be just having more good days than bad ones. As we begin to live again and enjoy our life, we often feel that in doing so, we are betraying our loved one.

We can never replace what has been lost, but we can make new connections, new meaningful relationships, new inter-dependencies. Instead of denying our feelings, we listen to our needs; we move, we change, we grow, we evolve. We may start to reach out to others and become involved in their lives. We invest in our friendships and in our relationship with ourselves. We begin to live again, but we cannot do so until we have given grief its time. Often we want to go back in time: find the tumor sooner, recognize the illness more quickly, stop the accident from happening…if only, if only, if only.

Guilt is often bargaining’s companion. The “if onlys” cause us to find fault in ourselves and what we “think” we could have done differently. We may even bargain with the pain. We will do anything not to feel the pain of this loss. We remain in the past, trying to negotiate our way out of the hurt. People often think of the stages as lasting weeks or months. They forget that the stages are responses to feelings that can last for minutes or hours as we flip in and out of one and then another. We do not enter and leave each individual stage in a linear fashion. We may feel one, then another and back again to the first one.  We will all have a unique pattern of grief.

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