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5 Stages of Grief

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For those dealing with loss and grief these are stages that a person typically goes through
  5 Stage of grief  1. Denial and Isolation The first reaction to learning of terminal illness or death of a cherished lovedone is to deny the reality of the situation. It is a normal reaction to rationalizeoverwhelming emotions. It is a defense mechanism that buffers theimmediate shock. We block out the words and hide from the facts. This is atemporary response that carries us through the first wave of pain.2. AngerAs the masking effects of denial and isolation begin to wear, reality and itspain re-emerge. We are not ready. The intense emotion is deflected from ourvulnerable core, redirected and expressed instead as anger. The anger maybe aimed at inanimate objects, complete strangers, friends or family. Angermay be directed at our dying or deceased loved one. Rationally, we know theperson is not to be blamed. Emotionally, however, we may resent the personfor causing us pain or for leaving us. We feel guilty for being angry, and thismakes us more angry.Remember, grieving is a personal process that has no time limit, nor one“right” way to do it. The doctor who diagnosed the illness and was unable to cure the diseasemight become a convenient target. Health professionals deal with death anddying every day. That does not make them immune to the suffering of theirpatients or to those who grieve for them.Do not hesitate to ask your doctor to give you extra time or to explain justonce more the details of your loved one’s illness. Arrange a specialappointment or ask that he telephone you at the end of his day. Ask for clearanswers to your questions regarding medical diagnosis and treatment.Understand the options available to you. Take your time.3. Bargaining The normal reaction to feelings of helplessness and vulnerability is often aneed to regain control–  If only we had sought medical attention sooner…If only we got a second opinion from another doctor…If only we had tried to be a better person toward them…Secretly, we may make a deal with God or our higher power in an attempt topostpone the inevitable. This is a weaker line of defense to protect us fromthe painful reality.4. Depression Two types of depression are associated with mourning. The first one is areaction to practical implications relating to the loss. Sadness and regretpredominate this type of depression. We worry about the costs and burial. Weworry that, in our grief, we have spent less time with others that depend onus. This phase may be eased by simple clarification and reassurance. We mayneed a bit of helpful cooperation and a few kind words. The second type of depression is more subtle and, in a sense, perhaps more private. It is ourquiet preparation to separate and to bid our loved one farewell. Sometimesall we really need is a hug.5. AcceptanceReaching this stage of mourning is a gift not afforded to everyone. Death maybe sudden and unexpected or we may never see beyond our anger or denial.It is not necessarily a mark of bravery to resist the inevitable and to denyourselves the opportunity to make our peace. This phase is marked bywithdrawal and calm. This is not a period of happiness and must bedistinguished from depression.Loved ones that are terminally ill or aging appear to go through a final periodof withdrawal. This is by no means a suggestion that they are aware of theirown impending death or such, only that physical decline may be sufficient toproduce a similar response. Their behavior implies that it is natural to reach astage at which social interaction is limited. The dignity and grace shown byour dying loved ones may well be their last gift to us.  Coping with loss is a ultimately a deeply personal and singular experience —nobody can help you go through it more easily or understand all the emotionsthat you’re going through. But others can be there for you and help comfortyou through this process. The best thing you can do is to allow yourself tofeel the grief as it comes over you. Resisting it only will prolong the naturalprocess of healing.
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