Understanding the Stages of Grief

The five stages of grief

At one point or another, you’ve likely heard film characters or mental health professionals discuss the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. This model was developed by psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, and has helped people understand grieving for decades. Though your own grief may not fit neatly into Kübler-Ross’ model, becoming familiar with the stages of grief may help you cope with your feelings.

Denial

It can be difficult for some to accept the loss of a loved one. Denying that a loved one has passed is a defense mechanism that can help dull the shock of loss. However, staying in denial is not a healthy way to grieve; one must eventually face the facts.

Anger

Once you accept the reality of your loved one’s death, you may feel considerable anger. This anger may be aimed at healthcare professionals, your deceased loved one, or even yourself. Many people express anger as a means of hiding from or deflecting their feelings of profound sadness.

Bargaining

During the grieving process, many are eager to regain control of their emotions and of reality in general. You might beat yourself up for behaving a certain way toward your loved one, or you may make a secret deal with a higher power so you can have a little more time with your loved one.

Depression

Depression is often the longest stage of grief, and some people never move beyond it. During this stage, mourners struggle to accept the death of their loved ones and explore ways to carry on.  

Acceptance

Not everyone reaches the acceptance stage. Those who reach this stage truly understand that everyone dies eventually, and that death is what makes life so special. In some ways, grief can stay with you your whole life; still, there are many ways you can enjoy life again.

For help coping with your grief, call Valley of the Temples Memorial Park at (808) 239-8811. In addition to a 24-hour grief support, we provide Oahu residents with simple cemetery arrangements. Visit our website to find out how we can help make the grieving process easier.