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The Stages Of Grief - How Grief Plays Out
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Everyone goes through stages in life where they must grieve loss of some sort. Whether it is the loss of friends or family, a pet, or more material in nature such as loss of employment or destruction of one’s home, it is bound to happen at some point to everyone. Therefore it makes sense to approach the reality of grief and examine it thoroughly in order to better grasp the nature of grief as it impacts people of all sizes, shapes, and colors. All humans are different. We all have our own unique experiences as children and these all shape us slightly differently. It is therefore safe to say that people develop their own ways to cope and deal with grief which are subtly different from anyone else’s. This does not mean that there are not commonalities and trends for dealing with loss and grief. It simply reminds us that we are all unique and no two people are required to reconcile with loss and pain in the same fashion. The following are commonly observed stages of grief which many people experience at some point within the grieving process.

Denial: People refuse to accept that they are experiencing a loss.

Anger: Often seeking out individual or persons responsible for loss.

Bargaining: Seeking to resolve impending loss through bartering

Depression: Sorrowful and loathe to engage in regular interactions and activities.

Acceptance: Recognizing the loss and adjusting life accordingly.

Many people experience some or all of these stages, but these are by no means a regular outline of how everyone will experience and handle loss. These are also not to be confused for the order in which a person will experience the stages of grief. For this reason, Dani Baker, a marriage and family counselor at the Healing Center in Seattle, prefers not to think of them as “stages of grief”. Rather she attempts to look at the issue as one whole process which requires many outlets in order to properly express itself in a healthy fashion. There are many ways to cope with grief. As one begins to experience various symptoms from the loss they can alleviate the pain through the development of outside, supportive relationships with friends and family who are willing to help by:

• Listening • Sharing their own experiences • Seeking to empathize • Not belittling or rushing the grieving process

Grief is a necessary part of life. Everyone grieves at some point in their life. It may not be done in the same fashion or be the same length as other people, however it remains a pivotal process in allowing humans to adapt and survive through emotionally challenging times.


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