Every human being will experience grief when receiving the unhappy news that a loved one has passed away. In some instances, grief will get the better of them. Grief may be even more overwhelming in some situations where violence or an accident is to blame for a loved one’s death. The bereaved person mourns the death of a loved one and the way that individual died, as well. Indeed, the world of a bereaved person may be turned upside down. 

Grief and Its 5 Stages

Grief is a complex emotional and psychological experience that results from experiencing some types of loss, and the death of a loved one is only one example. Grief can come from a break-up with a partner, losing your job, or failing to pass an exam. However, bereavement is grief that comes on specifically in response to a loss from someone’s death or dying.

Many have discussed a theory of grief for adjustment to bereavement. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross became famous for defining the five stages of grief and adapted that same model for people who were facing their own death. This well-known model is generalized to include many kinds of losses. It is widely accepted by clinical psychologists and the general public for all types of bereavement and grief. The five stages of grief are:

  1. Disbelief
  2. Anger
  3. Bargaining/yearning
  4. Depression
  5. Acceptance

Grief is an Individualized Process

However, not everybody navigates these stages in the same way or a specific order. Everyone experiences grief in their own way. It is an individualized process. One person might reach acceptance in a few months, while it may take years for others. Some go through the stages separately, and in succession, while others may skip back and forth through the stages, or have stages that overlap. 

Many diverse factors influence the grief process, including the way in which the loved one was lost. The grief that arises after a loved one passes from natural causes is typically most characterized by yearning and acceptance. On the other hand, after a traumatic loss, the level of acceptance is often lower and more difficult to achieve.

Grief is Complicated 

Most commonly, individuals gradually adapt to loss. However, some people cannot adapt and are diagnosed with complicated grief. Complicated grief often involves unbearable, recurrent bouts of painful emotions, an intense yearning for the loved one, and obsessive thoughts of the deceased individual. People with complicated grief often have an intensity of symptoms that are heightened and prolonged in comparison to those who adapt to the loss with less difficulty.

Being present and witnessing the grieving person’s journey through the grief process is a significant way to support them. Words and platitudes often have little meaning for the bereaved. However, talking about the deceased person and recalling fond memories tends to be highly appreciated, especially in the weeks, months, or even years after a loved one’s death. Sometimes, grieving individuals will need professional help to get through their grief. A clinical psychologist can provide substantial support for these people. 

If you or a loved one needs help navigating the grief process, reach out to a psychotherapy professional for treatment, like grief counseling in Palatine, IL from Lotus Wellness Center, today.