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Grief is a natural response to loss, particularly to the loss of someone or something to which a bond was formed. It is the emotional suffering one feels when something or someone the individual loves is taken away.

The more significant the loss, the more intense is the grief. However, even subtle losses can lead to grief. For example, you might experience grief after moving away from home, graduating from college, changing jobs, selling your family home, or retiring from a career you loved.

The five stages of grief:

  • Denial – In the denial stage we refuse to believe what has happened. We try in our mind to tell ourselves that life is as it was before our loss
  • Anger – The anger can manifest itself in many ways. We can blame others for our loss. We can become easily agitated having emotional outbursts
  • Bargaining – Bargaining can be with ourselves or if you are religious with your god. Often we will offer something to try to take away the reality of what has happened.
  • Depression – Depression is a very likely outcome for all people that grieve for a loss. There can even be thoughts of suicide.
  • Acceptance – it is the final stage of grief. It is when you realize that life has to go on. You can here accept your loss. You should now be able to regain your energy and goals for the future.

Some people have found the stages to be a helpful way to think about grief; others have not. Grief counselors and researchers point out that the stages describe grief as a passive process. In the decades since Kübler-Ross’s work, people who work with the bereaved have learned that grief is an active process. Many people find it empowering to know that they are resilient. They take comfort in actively processing their feelings and memories and creating ways to honor and celebrate their loved one.