2IN GENERAL… Anytime we suffer a significant loss, we experience grief. The intensity of the grief depends on the loss.The loss could be the end of a meaningful relationship, the breakup of one’s family, the death of a pet, the death of a family member…
3STAGE 1: DENIAL & ISOLATION Denial and/or shock are often a person’s initial reaction followed by numbness.There may also be a feeling of isolation or helplessness.These feelings are an attempt to avoid reality by saying or thinking, “It is all a bad dream and will go away.”Buys us time to be able to cope with the loss.
4STAGE 2: ANGERAnger is a natural reaction, an outlet for resentment at being a victim.There may be envy of other who have not experienced such a loss.The person often takes out the anger on those close by – friends and family.“Why me?...”
5STAGE 3: BARGAININGThe person seeks to postpone the loss by making promises, often to God, to be a better person.“I’ll do this if you will only do…”
6STAGE 4: DEPRESSIONThe numbness, anger, and rage felt previously are now replaced with a sense of great loss.Feelings of great loneliness, isolation, helplessness, and sadness are characteristics of this stage.
7STAGE 5: ACCEPTANCE Facing reality in a constructive way. It allows for action.Learning from our mistakes and remembering the good times.
8OTHER NAMES FOR STAGES SHOCK – Denial & Isolation SUFFERING – Anger, Bargaining, and DepressionRECOVERY - Acceptance
9FINAL NOTES Everyone goes through the stages at a different rate. We often bounce back and forth between the stages – no specific order.It is possible to get stuck in a specific stage.At the anniversary of a loss, the some of the stages may be revisited.Everyone copes with loss in a different way.
10COPING How can you cope with a loss in a healthy manner? How can you help a friend cope with a loss?