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Understanding the 7 Stages of Grief

Published: May 17, 2021

Do you sometimes feel as if you’re on a never-ending cycle of grief? Maybe one moment you think you’re feeling better, only to wake up the next day feeling like your world just turned upside down?

If that’s how things are for you right now, rest assured that you are not the only one going through the complexities of grief. People grieve differently, which means somebody else’s grieving process can look very different from yours.

However, grieving usually follows a certain pattern, and in this blog post, we’ll look at the 7 stages of grief that individuals generally go through when they suffer a loss.

It is important to note, though, that people go through these stages at different speeds, and it’s normal for individuals to slide back to an earlier stage at any point in the process.

Stage 1: Disbelief and Denial

This is how people typically respond when they first learn of the loss. The news about their loved one’s death can be too shocking. This is especially true when the deceased is a victim of an accident or an unexpected death. In these cases, it’s not uncommon to hear family members and friends say, “This can’t be happening.”

Stage 2: Pain

Once the shock wears off and the sad news sinks in, a grieving individual now feels the full force of pain. This kind of pain can be excruciating and for some, almost unbearable, but it is important that you experience this pain fully rather than try to run away from it.

Stage 3: Anger

At this point, pain gives way to anger, with the grieving individual venting out his or her pent-up emotions. This is when people try to strike bargains with God, asking for the impossible to happen. Grieving individuals may also find themselves unreasonably blaming others for the death of their loved one. If you are at this point, be careful about how you express your emotions. You might end up permanently damaging a relationship as a result.

Stage 4: Depression and Loneliness

All that burst of anger ultimately leads to a feeling of depression. In this state, the grieving individual can feel emotionally drained and may even feel that they can no longer get on with their life. The feeling of sadness and loneliness can be so deep that no amount of encouragement can seem to get you out of that emotional pit.

Stage 5: A State of Calm

In time, your emotions may begin to ebb as you learn to cope with life without your loved one. The sadness is still there, but you feel a bit more in control of your life, and your depression is no longer as severe as it was in the previous stage.

Stage 6: A Return to Your Life

Little by little, your life returns to a semblance of normalcy as you become more functional. At this stage, you find yourself able to look for solutions and work on resolving any issues that may have come up because of the loss.

Stage 7: Acceptance and Hope

If you find that you’re no longer depressed and you notice that you’re already feeling a bit more hopeful these days, then that means you are now on the last stage of grief based on this 7-stage model. You’ve finally come to terms with the reality that your loved one has passed on. This doesn’t mean that you instantly become happy, but you find your life starting to go back to the way it used to be, although a bit altered this time because of the tragedy.

Remember, it’s okay to grieve. There’s no need for you to rush through each stage. If you find that you’ve slipped back to earlier stages, don’t worry. Know that despite the loss, you have people who care for you.

Do you need someone to support you as you go through the pain of your loss? There’s many in-person and virtual grief support groups that can help you during this time of need. To learn more and see which one is right for you, please visit our website:

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