The Five Stages of Grief

The Five Stages of Grief is a widely-accepted model for how we deal with grief. Swiss psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross developed the theory while working with terminally ill patients. She introduced her model in the 1969 book, “On Death and Dying. The Five Stages of Grief”.

Denial

It’s hard to believe that your loved one has actually died and will no longer be a part of your life. During the denial stage, it is normal that mourners may withdraw and isolate themselves from others.

Anger

Mourners may be angry at the person who has died, the situation, your family members, the doctor, or even yourself. Most experts recommend that you recognize your anger for what it is and you allow yourself to work through it.

Bargaining

Mourners may try to make a deal with a higher power so that your loved one will not be ill or die. Your mind may also be filled with a lot of “only ifs” and “what ifs.” Only if one more procedure is done, only if we had done…  Going through this stage can help you deal with the aftermath of the loss.

Depression

Mourners may feel overwhelming sadness and emptiness. It may be hard to go about daily activities. If you are worried about how you feel, do not hesitate to seek help.

Acceptance

After some time, mourners will begin to feel that things will be OK. You may never get over missing the person you have lost, but you feel ready to move on.

Helping Someone Who is Grieving

It can take a while for a grieving person to feel like themselves again, so don’t expect one visit to cause a significant change. The most important part of helping a grieving person is being there when they need you, so try to make yourself available.

Helping a Grieving Child

Helping children cope with a loss of a loved one can be difficult because how they express their grief depends on their level of maturity and how close they were with the person who died. Children will have ups and downs and will likely need ongoing support. Presenting activities that will take children’s minds off the pain may help. With patience, understanding, and empathy you can help children work through their grief.