Friday, September 17, 2010


Grief is a common occurrence in our lives however, many of us do not recognize that there are definitive stages that have been researched to help guide us in our personal journey through this inevitable life happening. These stages, although distinctive, happen in each person's life in an individual way and in each person's unique timetable.

Five Stages have been identified in progressive states:

1. DENIAL - "I feel fine." or "This can't be happening to me." Denial is usually a temporary defense for the individual and is at times preceded by shock if the loss or news of the loss is unexpected.

2. ANGER - "Why me?!" "It's not fair!; "How can this happen to me?" In this second stage, blaming or looking to blame is common.

3. BARGAINING - "Just let me live to see my children graduate." "I'll do anything..." This usually takes place with a higher power and faith can be shaken when the bargain appears to be denied.

4. DEPRESSION - "Why bother with anything." "What's the point." This can be the response in order to allow the person to disconnect.

5. ACCEPTANCE - "It's going to be okay." This stage can include putting your loss in a bigger context, becoming functional and attending to practical matters, there is a general lifting of the depression.

Although this list appears to go in steps, it may be, and often is the case, that the stages will intermingle and at times seem to occur concurrently rather than at distinct separate times. What to do if you find yourself or a loved one experiencing stages of loss? Listen carefully to what they say and be respectful of their feelings. Although their reaction may make little sense to you, it is very real for them and it is an important step for them in moving through to healing. If you find yourself getting "stuck" and not moving through your grief as you expected, let me encourage you to call a caring professional at 386-736-9165, for support and encouragement. Grieving is a unique journey and can come at times when we least expect it. It can be attached to life transitions such as moving, changing careers, leaving home, job loss, loss of health, as well as death or dying, and loss of relationship. The important thing to remember is that you do not have to suffer alone.
By Janice Suskey LMHC

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