Featured Editorial

The Process of Understanding the Good in the 5 Stages of Grief

I'm perfectly okay with admitting that I am selfish. I just can never seem to be able to let go of certain connections. I am very often afraid of the possibility of losing someone close to me becoming a reality and there is no other way to express this form of permanent separation anxiety. I struggle greatly with my abilities of coping with death, dying, grieving and loss. Unfortunately, it is a normal and natural process of human development to go through the experiences of the various stages of grieving as we mourn the loss of people, material possessions, and even our conceived mental images or perceptions. Hopefully, I can offer some help to someone else as a wounded healer. I've taken time to explore the process of understanding the good in the five stages of grief.

The Process of Understanding the Good in the 5 Stages of Grief

Being creatures of habit we often find a comfort and complacency with our current state of being and tend to take for granted that each day being, "It is what it is" will always be permanently fixtured in our lives. Grief is part of a very individual and very natural healing process.

Elisabeth Kubler-Ross was the one of the first persons to be credited with identifying the five stages of grief in her widely renowned book, "On Death and Dying". The stages of grieving are identified as denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Grief is an individual process and not everyone experiences each stage or proceeds through the stages in order.

Our feelings of grief are what we feel and experience on the inside. Mourning is the outward expression of what we are experiencing and share with others interacting with us. It is not possible for anyone to ever be able see your grief or judge you by you are grieving. You are the only person that will ever be capable of experiencing your grief.

Denial - "This just can't be true." "This isn't really happening to me." These are a part of the grieving process that address our feelings of shock and possibly confusion with the tragic situation at hand. Gradually, through accepting the reality of the loss, you are beginning the healing process of grieving. Feelings of acceptance will becoming stronger as the feelings of denial weaken.

Anger - "This isn't fair!" "How can such a horrible thing have happened to such a beautiful person?" Beneath the turmoil and torment of anger are feelings of pain. When we lose something or someone, we lose a connection. The unwanted feelings of having been deserted and left abandoned transition into anger. The emotion of anger is used a connecting link, being angry creates a connection to anyone or anything for any reason. Anger is also an intense passion, which is synonymous with love.

Bargaining - "What if I just stayed a moment longer?" "Why couldn't there have been just a little more time?" Feeling guilty about having survived a significant loss becomes a pleading and crying barter for a chance to undo the pain, hurt and heartache that survivors are left to endure. There is no limit to what a hurting, grieving person will sacrifice in order to save a loved one, change the circumstances or even take away their pain.

Depression - "There will never be anyone like him." "How can I go on without her?" After suffering the devastating separation of a loss, it is an acceptable time to deal with feelings of overwhelming sadness, emptiness and withdrawal. The depressed state following a loss is a normal and healthy stage of the grieving process. Understanding the validity of your emotions and addressing your concerns is essential to your coping and acceptance of your loss, as well as your mental well-being.

Acceptance - "Our happy memories will always remain." "We all need to be supportive of one another during this difficult time." The vacant chasm left after a loss is an irreplaceable void in our lives. Memories and mementos sustain and comfort us through the transitioning of a loved one. While our dearly departed are no longer with us in the physical sense, their presence in the spirit is intensified.

My heart and spirit are heavy with grief as I am mourning the loss if a once in a lifetime friend. While we are physically apart after a friendship that spans over 30 years of our lives, a legacy of love remains. We were friends before we knew the meaning of friendship. Honestly, I can't even determine the stage of grief that I can call my own. Sharing these words are part of my healing process and will hopefully offer comfort to someone else. I dedicate this post to my best friend.

In Loving Memory of Donna Eloise Allen Martinez

You Are Forever in My Heart

Visit the National Institute of Health for more information on the stages of grief and mourning the loss of a loved one.

Please feel free to express personal tributes in memoriam of lost loved ones.