There are 5 stages that make up the framework that allows us to live with loss: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. They are tools to help us frame and identify what we may be feeling. They can also be applied our grief over the loss of our ‘old’ selves.
These tools are not stations on a train line. Not everyone goes through all of them or in a prescribed order. Have you been to any of these places? Stuck at one?
As you accept the reality of loss and start to ask yourself questions, you are unknowingly beginning the healing process. You are becoming stronger, and the denial is beginning to fade.
But as you proceed, all the feelings you were denying begin to surface…
People often think of the stages as lasting weeks or months. They forget that the stages are responses to feelings that can last for minutes or hours as we flip in and out of one and then another. We do not enter and leave each individual stage like getting on and off a train. We may feel one, then another and back again to the first one.
At times, people in grief will often report more stages. Just remember your grief is as unique as you are.