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The 5 Stages of Grief


Losing someone you love is difficult to go through. There is a grief and emotional process that happens when a death or some type of loss occurs. The 5 stages of grief was first coined by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross. The 5 stages are not meant to be worked through and checked-off, but it is meant to serve as a guide as to what to expect in grief recovery. Some may not experience all the stages and others may go through the stages in a different order.

The 5 stages of grief are

1. Denial

This usually happens after the initial news of hearing about a loss. A person usually has defensive coping mechanisms that immediately go into place to protect the person from the pain and shock. A person in this stage will experience numbness, shock, and disbelief. This stage protects us initially, but eventually the reality of the loss has to be worked through. If we dealt with the emotion right away it would be too overwhelming. When we begin to ask questions like, “How did this happen or why did this happen?” it is a sign that one is entering into another stage of grief.

2. Anger

Very normal during grief, and it can take on the form of being angry at the loved one who left. Anger turned inward is expressed as guilt. Many times a person experiencing guilt will say things like, “I should have been there or I should have done something.” Working through the anger is normal and a healthy part of the grief process.

3. Bargaining

This stage is where you find people “making deals” with God. If the death was sudden, we can oftentimes wish that we could bring them back in time and change things. If the death was known in advance, one may bargain with God to keep their loved one alive in exchange for something that they would do for God.

4. Depression

Eventually this stage happens to most all experiencing grief. This is the toughest stage to go through. Memories will flood the mind as well as actually feeling the discomfort and pain of that person no longer being a part of your daily life. This is a stage where emptiness and sadness occurs. Exhaustion and apathy set in, and getting out of bed can become difficult. It is not clinical depression but grief and mourning, and these uncomfortable emotions have to be experienced to work through the process of grief. We have to allow ourselves to feel the pain, loss, sadness, and grief. This part of grief can last for some time.

5. Acceptance

The difficult stage of depression leads to acceptance. Acceptance means we are now ready to move on, and to adjust to the world without our loved one.

Understanding the 5 stages of grief can help us better navigate the complexities of the grief process. Grief is a natural response to a loss. Every stage of grief is normal and healthy, unless a person gets stuck in a stage and does not allow the normal process to take place.

If you have experienced grief and would like to share what helped you work through the process, please let our readers know. You input is valuable and appreciated.

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18

No matter the tragedy or circumstance, God promises us in His word that, in all things God works for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28

About Stephanie Reck

Stephanie has a heart and passion to see broken lives restored and redeemed through Jesus Christ. She writes through her personal experiences and her educational and professional background. She has over 17 years experience in counseling, and has a Master's degree in Social Work, Bachelor's degree in Psychology, and is a Licensed Belief Therapist. Stephanie has been married for 16 years,and has one grown son. Stephanie's desire through her writings is to bring hope and encouragement to the body of Christ, that no matter what you have been though or going through, there is restoration and redemption through Jesus Christ.

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  1. The only input I have is that WHEN WE HAVE JESUS, DEATH IS NOT SO HARD TO HANDLE! 🙂 Loved this piece.

    • Lindsey,
      You are absolutely right!!! There is still a grief process to work through, but in the midst there can be a peace.
      Blessings to you and I appreciate your comment,

      • Whether we realize it or not — there IS that process.

        I remember the moment I was told that my father died. I was home alone and my people didn’t want me to be alone when I heard it or over the phone. So … knock, knock on the door one cold February morning. My friend just blurted it out, “Your dad had a heart attack this morning. Lin, he died.” (poor girl, what an awful job!) — I blinked … and the very first thing I said was, “No. That’s not true. I just talked with him yesterday. You’re wrong.” I remember just shaking my head … denial. Then I got angry with her. (My POOR dear friend.) Told her to get out. Of course she didn’t and along came the process — AGH painful. Anyways, my comments are sincere … really good article!

        • Lindsey,
          I appreciate you sharing your story. I pray others will know they are not alone in how they feel. I am sorry that you lost your dad, I know that was tough. When my grandmother, who helped raise me, died years ago, the only thing that gave me peace is knowing she is with the heavenly Father. However, I still experieced ALL the stages of grief. This is what I want people to understand, there is a process and you could feel like your emotions are all over the place. It’s normal, but God does calm our fears, anxieties and does bring us His peace. How do I know? I experienced God’s peace just this week after a death in the family just last week. God has brought me a peace and a calmness that I should not have. Now this death was different, they were not a believer, but still God has covered me in His peace. I can’t explain it!
          It has been said that grief is the hardest emotion we can experience, probably because we go through the “roller coaster” of emotion that accompany grieving.
          Thank you again for sharing. Blessings of the Lord be upon you,

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