The different stages of grief

Grief affects every one. During a person’s life, they will normally have at least one experience of grief, whether it’s a loved one’s death, loss of a job, the end of a relationship, or other changes that alter life as you know it.

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Grief is also very personal, and it doesn’t follow neat patterns, a schedule or timetable. You might cry, feel angry, withdrawn and empty. None of which are unusual or wrong. Everyone mourns differently, but there are some similarities in the stages and the order of feelings experienced during grief.

Five stages of grief are:






Not everyone will experience all five stages or go through them in this order.

Stage 1: Denial

Grief is a very strong emotion and it’s not unusual to respond to feelings of intensity with denial. Denying it gives you time to gradually absorb the news and begin to process it. This is a well-known natural defence mechanism of the body and helps to numb you from the extreme intensity of the scenario.

Stage 2: Anger

Where denial can be considered as a coping mechanism, anger acts as a mask. Anger is hiding a lot of the emotion and pain you carry. The fury may be directed at others, such as those who died, an ex-partner, or your boss. You might even launch that anger at inanimate things. Your rational brain understands that the object of that anger isn’t to blame, your emotions at that moment are too intense to rationalise.

Stage 3: Bargaining

While experiencing grief, it’s normal to feel vulnerable. In times of extreme emotion, it is not uncommon to find ways to regain control or want to feel like you can influence the outcome of an event. During the bargaining stage, you could find yourself saying a lot of “what ifs” and “if onlys”. It is also not unusual for religious people to try to make a deal or promise to God or a higher power in exchange for healing or relief from sadness and pain. It’s important to find an understanding funeral director to help you as you experience this range of emotions. For Billericay Funeral Directors, visit a site like

Stage 4: Depression

While anger and bargaining can feel very “active”, the phase of depression may feel like a “quiet” sadness. In the early stages of a loss, you may run out of emotion, trying to stay ahead. At this point, however, you may be able to embrace and work through them win a healthier way. You can also choose to isolate from others to fully cope with the loss.

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Stage 5: Acceptance

Acceptance is not necessarily being happy or that all the other stages are over. This does not mean you are ‘over it’. It does, however, mean that you have come to terms with and understand how it affects your life right now. You may feel very different in this stage and this is fully expected. Acceptance can be seen as a way to see that there may be more good days than bad, but there may still be bad ones – and that’s OK.