There are 5 stages of bereavement listed below. I’ve given an explanation on how these stages work. You may not experience these in any particular order and you may not experience all of them.
• Denial and Isolation – When you’re first told about a situation where someone important to you has passed away or is in a serious critical condition, you may deny the reality of the situation. This type of reaction is a defence mechanism to protect you from the shock by rationalising your overwhelming emotions. This is a temporary response to the situation. This raises statements like ‘this can’t be happening to me…’
• Anger – Emotions can and often do get expressed in the form of anger. Your anger may be expressed towards objects, family, friends, complete strangers and even the loved one who is dying or is deceased. We do know the person is not to be blamed for what’s happened on a rational level however emotionally you may resent that person for causing the pain or for leaving you.
• Bargaining – When we feel vulnerable or helpless you try to regain some control. The way in which this is done is by ‘making a deal with God’ or a higher power depending on your beliefs in order to stop the inevitable from happening. This is to protect yourself from the painful reality. Raises statements like ‘if you stop this from happening, I will do….’
• Depression– May be due to the illness itself or it’s effects on you. This could be a result of anticipating the loss of life shortly to occur, you withdraw yourself from others/situations, you develop sleep disturbances, hopelessness and possible thoughts of suicide.
• Acceptance– Accepting that death is inevitable; ideally you’ll be able to talk about facing the unknown.