The Stages of Grief and Loss in Depth, Part 2

Many people that are grieving for a lost loved one bury themselves in work or a new time-consuming project. Actually this is a good idea. Our minds need to be occupied so that we do not dwell on our loss, but without blocking those prevalent feelings of loss and pain.


I am a writer, writing my feelings down were how I chose to occupy my time. This is how I sorted through the myriad of painful emotions that plagued me shortly after my mom died. For an artist, painting may help. For a musician, playing their instrument may bring them solace. A high-powered corporate executive may forge into a new business conquest to quiet the moans of grief. Keeping ourselves busy and productive will help to sooth the pangs of loss.

The stages of grief can be broken down into four stages. There is sometimes a slow progression from one stage to the other, and other times the stages seem to rapidly progress. The way a person deals with death and loss is very personal, and it can differ greatly. Included below is a comprehensive list of the stages of grief. These are normal phases that a bereaved person goes through shortly after the death of someone close to them.

Shock: Family members find it difficult to believe their loved one has really died. The bereaved feel bewildered, stunned, and even numbed by the sudden change in their lives.

Missing and Yearning for the person: The grief-stricken experience a sort of separation anxiety and they cannot accept the reality of the loss quite yet, so they, many times, try to bring them back. Attempts at this may be through vivid dreams, thinking that they saw their loved one, smelling their perfume, or even hearing their voice. Survivors want to find and bring back the lost person. They can feel extreme frustration and disappointment when they realize that this is not possible.

Restlessness and Confusion: Many times family members or friends feel very depressed and find it difficult to think of their life without their loved one. It is hard for them to plan for the future. Survivors are easily distracted and have difficulty concentrating and focusing.

Moving on: This is the point that we can start to see the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. We can now begin to climb out of the dark abyss of despair and loneliness. This is a time of healing and increased energy and optimism.

*All of these stages may come in a sequence or other times they may overlap one another. The grieving process is different for everyone, but a professional should be consulted if any of these symptoms lasts for an extended period. (More than a month or two)

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