“The pain of leaving those you grow to love is only the prelude to understanding yourself and others.”-Shirley MacLaine
There comes a time in everyone’s life where they experience a loss. Sometimes it’s the loss of a person or an animal while other times its the loss of one’s health, a dream, or a way of life. In all of these circumstances, one must grieve!
There are five stages of grief. When grieving, each stage will be experienced, but they may occur in a different order or for different lengths of time.
One stage is denial.
It is normal and healthy to try to convince oneself that the event is not really happening. This allows one not to feel, oftentimes allowing the individual to be productive and deal with things that need to be done. This also allows one to develop other internal defenses for dealing with the loss.
Another stage is anger or resentment.
In this stage, “Why me?!?” is the overall thought. Blame and anger are directed towards God, the person lost (if applicable) and others. Remember, it is OKAY to get mad!! It is a very natural part of the grieving process!
A third stage is bargaining.
Bargains are often made with God: “Give me another year, I promise to…” or “Bring him back, I’ll never…” are common. Even those without strong religious beliefs may find themselves bargaining. These bargains may be a simple internal dialogue or promises to him or herself.
The fourth stage is depression.
It is during this stage that the one grieving has the courage to admit that the event is happening. Everything sinks in. The realities about life changes are realized. This realization and admittance brings on depression.
The last stage is acceptance.
At this point, the event and all emotions surrounding are accepted completely.
Again, remember that it takes time to complete the grieving process. Some people take longer than others. The length of the grieving process is not a measure of ones strength, weakness, or stability.
“..in order to feel anything you need strength…”-Anna Maria Ortese
A few words of warning: Oftentimes, a person believes that it is necessary to “be the strong one” and not feel sad or any other emotions, for that matter. That only hurts more. It doesn’t take away the grieving process; it just delays it.
All of this may not always be wanted or enjoyed, but remember the words of Eleanor Roosevelt:
“…we do not always like what is good for us in this world.”