Understanding & Navigating the 5 Phases of Grief


When we lose a loved one, it’s hard to imagine our lives without them. We become so accustomed to living with them and always having them there when we need help. Grief is very complicated and makes us feel like the pain we are feeling will never go away. It makes us feel frustrated, confused, tired and depressed. It is important to know you are not alone, no matter how unbearable the pain may feel. Read on to learn about the 5 phases of grief and how to navigate through them after losing someone special. 


What Are the 5 Phases of Grief?


Most people don’t want to believe their loved one is really gone. At first, people are stuck in shock and can’t wrap their head around what just happened. That is totally normal and it is important because this stage can actually help us take away some of the pain. It’s not that we don’t want to believe that they are gone, but we are just trying to actually absorb and understand what has happened. When we are in the denial stage, it is important to allow yourself time. As time goes on and you move to the next phase, you will understand what has truly happened.


As soon as you have given yourself time, the next reality hits. Experiencing anger after losing a loved one is extremely common. When there is just so much to process about what has happened, our bodies get mad. It seems so unfair that this has happened to you and how awful your life may feel at the time. But it is important to know this is just another phase in the grieving process, and soon you will be able to get away from this feeling and appreciate all the good times you have had with them. This is a very important step because it allows you to express your emotion and let everything out that you are feeling.


When suffering from a heavy loss, it is common to feel like you would do just about anything to alleviate the pain. We become desperate and are looking for a way out of this dark hole. We start to go back into certain moments and start doubting ourselves, thinking of “what-if” situations. When we are doing this we are trying to find closure and stepping out of our anger. We are hoping and requesting to a higher power that there is a way to influence a different outcome for us. Not everyone can face this phase, and some may move directly onto the next.


Next, as one could probably imagine, is depression. This stage is where everything starts to finally slow down and we really see what we have been dealt with. We no longer panic at the thought of our loved one being gone, but rather silently take it all in. This stage can be very intense and even come in waves. It can be easy to feel like your own life is not worth living anymore, but that is just the negative and sad energy flowing through your mind. It is important to try and stay strong and avoid isolating yourself from the ones you still have that love and care for you. 


The grieving process is a long and winding road. Our bodies are feeling and going through so many emotions it can make us fatigued. The last phase in the process is accepting the loss and being able to live with it. This final phase is a point of growth and realization. It means you have been able to live again and accept that there will still be a part of them with you wherever you go. It does not mean you will “get over'' their loss, because that truly may never happen. It means you are going to be able to live your life the way you have been and not feel the pain and sadness you had felt in the beginning. 

Hamel Lydon Chapel and Cremation Services of Massachusetts 

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