Grief & Loss

Grief & Loss

Grief is the emotional reaction experienced after a loss.

The loss may be related to a death, separation or change that results in a loss of status, ability or security.

There are five stages of grief, according to Elisabeth Kubler-Ross:

  • Denial – shock, numbness, unreality of the situation
  • Anger – angry at God, the doctors, your employer, the system
  • Bargaining – seeking ways to alter the reality (making deals with God, promises to change)
  • Depression – expression of mourning and sadness
  • Acceptance – adapting to the loss and figuring out how to go forward

People often move between the stages and not everyone experiences loss in this way.

There is no correct amount of time to grieve – for some it is one year and for other many years.

Although Kubler-Ross studied people who were dying, the stages of loss have been universally applied to the experience of those who are grieving the loss, also.

People with chronic illness, those separated from family members, people who have lost their homes or jobs and others also experience these stages of grief.

Each year around the time of the loss, you may experience a recurrence of grief, called anniversaries. The same is true for holidays, birthdays and other anniversaries.

Kubler-Ross is quoted as saying: “The reality is that you will grieve forever. You will not ‘get over’ the loss of a loved one; you will learn to live with it. You will heal and you will rebuild yourself around the loss you have suffered. You will be whole again, but you will never be the same. Nor should you be the be same, nor would you want to.”

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