Grief is a common, recurring, and unique experience for everyone. Some people do go through the standard 5 stages of grief which are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. However, it is usually not a linear process. People can return to one or more of the stages at multiple times.
Normal grief, that is before it becomes persistent or complicated grief disorder, can last about 1-3 years.
There are many reasons people grieve. For example, the death of someone they care about, loss of a pet, loss of a relationship, loss of a job, loss of physical abilities, loss of health, loss of hopes and dreams.
Grief may include secondary losses. For example, loss of status, loss of financial security, and loss of home.
Grief bursts are common. For example, crying spells when a person is reminded of their loss. Certain holidays or special events throughout the year may cause a person’s grief to resurface.
If the feelings associated with grief are suppressed, then it may lead to somatic symptoms. Allowing oneself to feel the emotional pain and sorrow letting it pass like waves is an important step towards integrating the loss.
People cope with grief in different ways. Some people benefit from grief support groups, but it is not for everyone. Someone who is grieving should not be pressured to cope in ways that do not align with their values and wants.
There isn’t an end to grieving. Time does not heal all wounds. It does soften them and eventually it does get easier for people. The grief burst occur less frequently. Some reminders might make someone smile or laugh.
It is okay not to be strong.
Crying is just one of many responses. If someone does not cry or have strong emotional reactions, that is okay.
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