Are there Stages of Grief?

Are there Stages of grief?

Many people believe that there are stages of grief due to Elisabeth Kubler Ross and her study of terminally ill patients published in her book On Death and Dying as a Grief Model in 1969. These “stages” of denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance simply don’t exist. There are many more aspects to grieving than just these “stages”. Grief is not orderly and can be very messy. In addition what one person may experience another one may not.

One certainty that does exist in grief: uncertainty accompanied with a myriad of emotions, physical symptoms and confusion to your spirit. Emotions can run the gamut from crying and depression to laughing and carelessness even clumsiness and forgetfulness and this may continue for some time.

You may also feel physical symptoms: the inability to sleep, overindulging with food or not eating at all. Your best course of action is just being patient with yourself as your body and emotions are adjusting to the loss in your life. Another area most likely is damaged is your spiritual self.

None of these areas, emotional, physical and spiritual, being out of sync mean that you are going nuts even though many people do feel this. Each situation, (i.e. death, divorce and job loss) will be different and each person’s grief will be different as each person is uniquely created. Grief is a unique journey for each person. It is a journey never before taken by you as the person you are grieving has never died before.

When uncertain about anything occurring in your body after experiencing the death of a loved one contact your doctor and have a thorough physical. This eliminates any physical issues and sometimes emotional as many times you fear something is wrong when there isn’t. Should your physician decide to prescribe medication to help you, accept that treatment as a temporary solution as your body will heal but you must allow it and assist it in returning to optimal health. The healing process will be similar and yet different to any surgery or injury that you may have experienced.

For your spirit to heal, lean into your faith and look for a support group such as GriefShare. Your spirit is hurting and needs healing also.

Encounter grief head on and don’t run. It will mean labor, hard work and most likely tears but you can get to other side with the support of very understanding and non-judgmental friends as you heal. No one can tell you the stages as it simply doesn’t exist. The most important thing to remember is that your grief is not their grief as their relationship and experiences with the deceased were not yours but theirs.