The Stages of Grief and Loss in Depth, Part 1

First there is the initial shock and disbelief that your loved one has died. Often it is almost unreal or surreal. Many bereaved persons report that a sort of fog encompasses them during the initial few weeks following the death of a loved one.

Many feel as though they are watching the events unfold, powerless to change anything. Some people say that they are unable to function normally immediately after the death of a person close to them.

A numb feeling often accompanies this stunned or shocked feeling too. This is a trying time in our lives- a time when our lives irrevocably change forever. Whether it is a parent, spouse, child, grandparent, other close relative, or dear friend, we must learn to cope on a daily basis without their love and support. Many times the though of never again seeing, hearing, or touching our loved one is just unbearable. A person that was once so alive and vibrant is now lying cold and motionless.

Loss can be an extraordinary burden, one that is very overwhelming for anyone to handle. Many survivors have an impaired ability to concentrate, think logically, sleep normally, and even complete simple tasks. It is normal to be less functional in the first few weeks following the loss of a person close to you. We are sad, depressed, distractible, illogical, and prone to unexpected bouts of crying at various points during the first few weeks of our grief.

After the initial grieving process- the shock- we then begin to come to terms with our loss. This normally happens within the first few weeks following the death of a loved one. Of course, the time frame is much different for everyone, depending on the illness, the relationship shared with the family member or friend, and the other details surrounding their death. The fog lifts, and our thoughts return to more mundane concerns.

Poignant thoughts of loss are no longer our primary focus. Now we are able to concentrate and function at a higher level.

We are more able to occupy our thoughts with images other than those flashbulb memories from our childhood and the mental image of our loved one’s face.

The crying fits become more controlled and shorter in duration. Our distractibility level returns to a more normal level as well. What helps many grieving persons is staying busy.

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