First every step of the process is natural and healthy, it is only when a person gets stuck in one step for a long period of time then the grieving can become unhealthy, destructive and even dangerous. When going through the grieving process it is not the same for everyone, but everyone does have a common goal, acceptance of the loss and to always keep moving forward. This process is different for every person but can be understood in four different steps.
- Shock and Denial
Shock is the initial reaction to loss. Shock is the person’s emotional protection from being too suddenly overwhelmed by the loss. The person may not yet be willing or able to believe what his mind knows to be true. This stage normally lasts 2 – 3 months.
- Intense Concern
Intense concern is often shown by not being able to think of anything else. Even during daily tasks, thoughts of the loss keep coming to mind. Conversations with one at this stage always turn to the loss as well. This period may last 6 months to 1 year.
- Despair and Depression
Despair and depression is a long period of grief and the most painful and protracted stage for the griever. But during which the person gradually comes to terms with the reality of the loss. The process typically involves a wide range of feelings, thoughts, and behaviors. Many behaviors may be irrational. Depression can include feelings of anger, guilt, sadness, and anxiety.
The goal of grieving is not the elimination of all the pain or the memories of the loss. In this stage, one shows a new interest in daily activities and begins to function normally on a day to day basis. The goal is to reorganize one’s life so that the loss is one important part of life rather than the center of one’s life