Grief & Loss
The Healing Process: Normal Grief Reactions
Thanks to Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross who was the first to
identify the stages of the grieving process. She identified these stages
as shock and denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Alan
Wolfelt described "mourning needs," which include acknowledging
the reality of the death, embracing the pain of the loss, remembering the
person who died, developing a new self-identity, searching for meaning,
and receiving ongoing support from others.
One powerful benefit to knowing about grief is that you and
your support system can be more patient with the process even if your
actions seem uncharacteristic for your normal behavior.
One way to examine your own style of coping is to recall the
ways you've dealt with painful times in the past. It is important to note
that some ways of coping with grief are helpful, like talking to others,
writing in a journal, remembering and telling stories about the persons
life and death. Other way to cope with grief are, joining a support group
and allowing yourself to cry when strong emotions surface.
Some coping styles may be hurtful or destructive to your
healing process, such as drinking alcohol, other substance abuse or
isolation. Healthy coping skills are important in resolving from a loss.
They cannot take away your pain, but they can help you move forward in the
It is empowering to know that these feelings will not last
forever and that in time you will recover, and may even be stronger, more
compassionate and better then you were before.