A Look at the Five Stages of Loss and Grief

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The five stages of loss and grief were first described by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross in 1969. She describes how individuals may initially feel shock and denial regarding the loss, and then after the funeral services and the cremation, that individual may gradually progress through other emotional reactions. It's important to realize that although grief is universal, each person's reaction to loss is unique. You may not feel a sense of denial before attending the funeral in Detroit, for example, or you may experience some stages of grief multiple times or even simultaneously.


Upon learning of the passing of your loved one, you may feel an acute sense of shock and it may be difficult to believe that your loved one is truly gone. This may be true even if your loved one suffered a terminal illness and the passing was expected. Similarly, it is possible to begin to go through the process of grief even before a passing. This is known as anticipatory grief and it commonly affects the family members of a loved one who is seriously ill.


You may find yourself visiting funeral homes and arranging for a Flint, MI cremation in a daze. After a while, the initial emotional response to loss may begin to wear off and you may begin to feel irrational anger. It's perfectly natural to feel anger at the decedent, other family members, and even inanimate objects.


Bargaining is commonly thought of as trying to make a deal with a higher power to delay an inevitable passing or to bring a loved one back. While this may be true, it can also refer to regrets. You may feel regret that you didn't convince your loved one to seek a second opinion, for example.


Depression is a common reaction to loss. Individuals who are grieving often feel that their sadness is insurmountable and that nothing will ever be "right" again. It's important to take care of your physical health while you're working through feelings of depression. Don't hesitate to seek help from your healthcare provider.


Accepting a loss does not always mean that one has found happiness, but rather that one has become calm and peaceful regarding the loss. Many people who have suffered a loss never reach acceptance.

Categories: Grieving

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National Funeral Directors Association
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National Funeral Directors & Morticians Association
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