Grief is an inevitable thing people experience throughout their lifetime. You can see it in heartbreak, the death of a family member or friend, or literally just any experience in which a person is experiencing a loss. Not many people realize that there are stages of the grieving process. I mean, we do in the way the movie industry might portray it, but no movie can truly portray the real life feeling of loss given that everyone experiences things differently. Some might even say that the five stages of the grieving process are outdated, but we’ll leave that up to your own discretion. After all, everyone has their own opinion.
The first stage of grieving has to do with denial. Most, if not all, people are in disbelief that the loss they are experiencing is not real. For example, when my dog passed away a couple years ago, I totally forgot she was dead and was expecting to see her next to me the next day just for me to realize that she was gone for good. It was not an easy feeling to deal with, but it is something everyone has to deal with unfortunately.
The second stage deals with the anger of having lost a person, place, or thing. This part of the process is when you are the most snappy amongst your peers (Guttman, 2020). It could be due to the fact that you are just frustrated with having to deal with the loss in the first place. Thousands of people have experienced loss during the pandemic, and their anger might be seen through their frustration with how the government is handling such a crisis.
The third stage is where people start to bargain with themselves about their loss. According to Guttman (2020), this stage is where people start to think about the things they could have done differently to avoid the loss. For example, when I was going through my most recent breakup, I was thinking of all of the different things I could have said or done so that my ex-boyfriend would not have broken up with me. This stage leads to depression because you realize there’s nothing you could have done differently because the loss you are experiencing already happened, and you can’t change the past.
This part of the grieving process has to be the worst stage to experience. No one likes to be depressed, but it’s a phase you have to experience before things start to get a little better. This is the part of the grieving process where you start to feel all of the icky feelings you had been dreading to feel the whole time. You’re in a situation where you have lost something near and dear to you, and there’s nothing you can do to bring that feeling of familiarity with said thing. Once you move past this stage though, things really do start to look up. Dealing with this stage is no easy feat because everyone experiences things differently. Some people could struggle moving past this stage, some might find it to be easy, and some never move past this stage at all.
The final stage deals with acceptance. Accepting that there’s nothing you could have done to change the outcome, accepting that you will be okay and move on from this one day. This is not a stage everyone can get to because of how depression for losing a loved one can last an entire lifetime for some. However, when people do reach this stage, life starts to feel just a little bit better. Obviously, not the same in comparison with still having your past loved one still here with you, but at least at this point you’re starting to live your life again the best way you can.
And those are all of the stages of grieving. Although I put these stages in a particular order, it is important to note that these stages can happen in different orders as well. People work in mysterious ways, and it would be a crime to assume that these stages of grief happen in the same order every time.
What do you think? Are these outdated, or do you think they are accurate for the most part? Let us know!
Guttman, J. (2020, April 8). Understanding the Stages of Grief and Facing Tragic News. Psychology Today.https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/sustainable-life-satisfaction/202004/understanding-the-stages-grief-and-facing-tragic-news