A part of living life is the experience of loss, be that the loss of a pet, grief at the end of a relationship, the death of a loved one, or just grieving the changes in life like children flying the nest. Grief is messy, difficult, and stressful to us, and those around us.
It’s hard to know how we will react and how we will get through it like we are in unknown territory without a map.
In 1969 psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross came up with a theory of there being 5 stages that a person goes through in the grieving process,. This process often referred to as the grief curve has 5 distinct stages, denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.
Everyone grieves differently though, there is no typical response to loss as there is no typical loss. Our grieving is as individual as our lives are and should be treated as such and interestingly Kübler-Ross said later just before her own death in 2004 that her grief curve model was never meant to tuck messy emotions into neat packages but as a guide into the emotions a grieving person may experience.
Each stage below can be visited at different points in the grieving process and doesn’t follow a structured and smooth path as our emotions fluctuate from time to time. There is no time frame either for grief and it is important to remember you will have good days and bad days or changes in your emotions from moment to moment.
All of these things are perfectly normal and you should treat yourself with patience and compassion and ask others around you to do the same as you allow the process to unfold. Let yourself feel your emotions without judgement.