This stage serves to protect and ‘insulate’ the individual from experiencing the full
intensity of the loss.
Numbness is a normal reaction to an immediate loss. It should not be confused with or
misinterpreted as a "lack of caring".
Denial will begin to disappear or diminish as the individual slowly starts to
acknowledge the impact of the loss and feelings associated.
At times, individuals may be consumed with thoughts of what could have been done to
prevent the loss.
They may become preoccupied about the ways that things could have been better,
imagining all the things that will never be.
This reaction can provide insight into the impact of the loss; however, if not
properly resolved, intense feelings of remorse or guilt may hinder the healing process.
Once there is a real acknowledgment & appreciation of the true extent of the
loss, some people may begin to exhibit depressive symptoms.
Lack of energy and concentration, sleep and appetite disturbances and tearful
episodes are not uncommon symptoms.
Along with the intense
feeling of loss, the grieving person may feel lonely, empty, isolated, and overcome with self-pity. All
of these will contribute to, or be signs of, a depressive episode.
For many, this phase of
grieving and depression
must be experienced in order to begin to move on with one’s
Helplessness & a
sense of powerlessness can result in reactive anger. This is not uncommon.
It may be as the result
of feeling abandoned, particularly in cases of loss through death.
Feelings of resentment
may occur toward one’s higher power or toward life in general for the injustice of this loss. For
example, blaming ‘God’ or a diffuse, generalized resentment.
Guilt may eventuate after the individual recognizes & acknowledges their anger
due to expressing these negative feelings.
These feelings of anger & guilt are ‘normal’ reactions and should not be viewed
negatively by the individual or others.
Generally time allows the individual to
resolve many of the issues pertaining to the loss; the feelings, the thoughts, the
The grieving process
actually supports the individual through the experience of loss. True healing and resolution happens
when the individual’s loss is inculcated into their set of life experiences. It becomes part of who
they are. It can be considered growth and allows one to understand and relate to a more complete
picture of life.
Anyone who passes
through this process may find themselves returning to earlier feelings they experienced at later dates
throughout their life. There may be a similar experience that re-ignites those feelings or memories
and/or events that rekindle the grieving process emotions.
Each individual is
unique and, as such, there is no specific time frame for the grieving process. No one who has
experienced loss should feel obligated to meet others’ expectations of resolution.
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