In our lifetimes, inevitably, we will all go through grief in our own ways. When it is associated with the loss of a loved one, it can be challenging to work your way through or to even understand why you’re feeling a certain way. While we all experienced it, grief manifests itself differently for each individual person. It has no rhyme or reason, no timeline or schedule. No emotion that you feel is wrong – it is simply your way of processing this significant change in your life. To help people try to understand these feelings, psychiatrists have created the 7 stages of grief which we will go over here today.

Stage 1: Denial

When you first lose someone you love, the initial feeling most people experience is denial. The breadth and intensity of what has happened can take some time to sink in, which often causes people to pretend that this change isn’t happening. It is a defence mechanism designed to shield you from pain and help to numb you through the first impact of loss.

Stage 2: Anger

Once we come to terms with the fact that this loss has occurred, many people experienced extreme bouts of anger. This is a masking emotion, designed to hide away the other feelings and pain that we aren’t ready to process yet. While the rational side of your brain may understand that what someone has said or done isn’t in spite, the emotional side sees us lash out. Some people experience anger as resentment or redirection of frustration.

Stage 3: Bargaining

Grief often makes us feel helpless. In a bid to regain control, it’s not uncommon to start asking yourself ‘what if’ and ‘if only’. Some people look to a higher being, such as religion, to try and bargain for a second chance. It is our way of trying to have an impact on the event that has caused us so much pain.

Stage 4: Depression

Once the intensity of all of these emotions have run their course, many people feel an intense wave of sadness and depression. During this time, many isolate themselves from people and activities, choosing to sit with the feelings in a way that may not always be comforting. You may feel overwhelmed, confused or have a general feeling of heaviness that you are unable to shift.

Stage 5: Acceptance

If you are able to healthily move through the sadness, you should find yourself at a place of acceptance. This isn’t to say that the loss of a loved one gets any easier or that you are happy about it. It simply means that you have accepted this stage in your life and are ready to find a path forward. You may feel like a completely different person from who you were beforehand – and that is entirely normal.

At Wallace Stuart Ltd, we work with families from the very beginning through many of these difficult emotions. As lady funeral directors, we understand that these feelings can be challenging and that having a comforting hand to lean on means the world. If you need support when laying a loved one to rest, please do get in contact with us today and let’s talk.