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The ten stages of grief  

When we are bereaved, we usually go through the following stages of grief:


We are in a state of shock. We experience a kind of temporary anaesthesia, an escape from reality, lasting from a few minutes to a few days.


We express emotion. An emotional release occurs when we sense our loss. In Western society it is difficult for men to cry, but it is healthy, and not a sign of weakness.


We feel depressed and very lonely. Everyone feels this way when someone they love is taken away from them. But the dark days do not last forever.


We may experience physical symptoms of distress. If the grief situation is unresolved, physical complaints often develop.


We may become panicky. Because we can think of nothing else but our loss, which results in an inability to concentrate, we worry about losing our mind. 


We feel a sense of guilt about the loss. We feel guilty about the things we did and said, or didn’t do or say, while our departed loved one was alive.


We are filled with hostility and resentment. These feelings are normal, yet they need to be overcome. We may ask, “Why did God let this happen to me?”


We are unable to return to usual activities. It is difficult to grieve about our loss in the presence of others, so we try not to talk about how we feel.


Gradually hope comes through. Over a period of a few weeks to many months we work through our grief and come to terms with our new situation.


We struggle to readjust to reality. Finally we emerge from our grief experience as different people, either stronger or weaker. Those with a mature religious faith have been able to work through their grief.

adapted from Good Grief by Granger E. Westberg – used with permission

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