Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Five Stages of Grief

The grieving process is what most people go through after a sad event. It may continue for several weeks or even months and no two people go through the process in exactly the same way. Grief has five clear stages even though the stages often overlap and recur.

One of the first responses to grief is denial. You may find yourself at times unwilling to believe that such a terrible thing is happening to you. You may try to convince yourself that it was all a bad dream. One of the ways your mind and emotions will try to handle the shock of your grief is to say, "No way; this is not happening to me."

The second stage in responding to grief is anger. When grappling with the inevitable question -- "Why did this happen?" -- you may find yourself lashing out angrily because there is no reasonable answer to that question. You have lost someone very dear to you, and it seems terribly unfair.

Your anger may be directed in a number of different ways. You may be angry at the cause of death (the car, the highway department, the cancer, the heart attack, etc). You may feel anger toward each person you think is at least partially to blame (the other driver, the doctor, the perpetrator of the crime, etc.). Strange as it seems, you may be angry at the person who died, thinking, "Why did you leave me alone?" Or you may be mad at God for allowing it to happen. Your anger may even be directed at yourself because you suspect that you were somehow to blame for what happened. (To be continued.)

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