Grief is a natural emotional reaction occurring in response to a loss. The reasons for grief are many, such as the death of a loved one, a divorce or loss of a relationship, the loss of health, the death of a beloved pet, the loss of a job or financial security, the loss of youth, or even the loss of a long-held dream. Grief is deeply personal and can be one of life’s most difficult challenges.
Our society is in denial about death and loss, making the grieving process very difficult. Time and support are needed, yet too frequently in our culture— neither are available, and emotions become repressed. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross identified five stages that people who are grieving go through: Denial, Depression, Bargaining, Anger, Acceptance
The progression through these stages is not necessarily orderly, and not everyone experiences all of these stages. The goal of grieving successfully is to experience the feelings of loss, sadness, anger, etc., and reach a stage of acceptance. Some go through just a few stages and reach acceptance, while others do not allow themselves to truly experience and work through their feelings. In the latter case, the person gets stuck; this is called unresolved or complicated bereavement, which usually leads to depression and anxiety.
The length and time needed to mourn is different for each individual. There is no predictable schedule.