A lot has been written about the grieving process. The Kuebler-Ross model, also known as the grief cycle, is probably the best known description of the grieving process. Dr. Kuebler-Ross’ model offers 5 stages of grief that needs to be traversed for grief to be resolved. However, grieving does not always, or better hardly, follow a clean model of stages. Kuebler-Ross has already pointed out that grieving is a very individual process. People may wander back and forth in the grief cycle, repeat stages over and over again, and may get stuck at some point. The 5 stages are:
- Denial > is a normal coping mechanism where a person refuses to accept the reality of the loss.
- Anger > about the loss manifest in being angry with oneself and others, especially those people the grieving person is close to.
- Bargaining > is about softening the blow of a loss, for example in a relationship break-up wanting to remain friends.
- Depression > some people call this the dress rehearsal for grieving. It signals that the person is accepting the loss and feels sadness, regret, fear, and uncertainty.
- Acceptance > signals that the person is coming to terms with the loss and starts the emotional detachment.
As I already mentioned, grieving is a very individual experience that is very different from person to person. In what ways and how much a person experiences grief depends on factors such as the significance of the loss, the support available, one’s faith, individual coping style and other personality traits, general health, and one’s financial security. All these variables determine the intensity and the length of a person’s grieving. Grieving in general takes time. It can’t be pushed on.
Some people only take a few weeks of grieving before they are able to pick up their lives, while others take much longer on may grieve more intensively for months or even years. There is no right way to grieve, no good or bad way. It just is! After a significant loss it is essential that a person is caring with him/herself and makes sure that the SELF is nurtured and care for. How much love and support the grieving person receives will make all the difference between barely coping and safely moving through the grieving process.
We do not get over grief.
But over time, we do learn to live with the loss.
We learn to live a different life
…with our loss.