The Stages of Grief: Our emotions are as complicated as we are. Grief is a very personal emotion and we all experience it differently. Our pain, intensity and perspective will be as different as our reason for grieving.
Coping with loss may leave us feeling pregnant with a jumbled mess of mixed emotions as we make our way through the different stages of grief in our own unique way.
“Grief is the price we pay for love.” – Queen Elizabeth II
Loss and grief often leaves us with a lot of confusion and questions.
Is this how I am supposed to feel?
Should I have done something more?
Am I mourning enough?
Should I be smiling right now?
Why am I feeling differently from others?
Can I ever get over this?
Should I ever get over this?
How should I feel right now?
As the anger, regret, guilt, shame, sadness and numbness pile up, we start feeling heavier and even more lost. Regardless of how intensely you grieve, know that it is all normal. Understanding the grief process is the key to recovery.
Grief is an overwhelming emotion
“Grief makes one hour ten.” – William Shakespeare
Although it can be powerful, grief is a natural feeling. Grief can be caused by a lot of situations like separation, terminal illness, a sudden drastic change, relationships, substance abuse and more. However, losing a loved one is perhaps the most devastating experience in life.
Grief can leave us feeling numb, sad and even paralyzed as we try to live through the burden of our daily lives. The crippling weight of grief crushes our mind, heart and soul as we try to live another day.
Sadly, our modern society does not allow us enough time & space to deal with such complicated and heavy emotions as we are thrown right back into life, compelled to live and be ‘normal’.
Grief is a universal experience which is immensely personal. The more you try to suppress and repress your emotions, the angrier and more isolated you will feel. Hence, it is crucial that you learn about the different models and stages of grief and understand the different aspects of grief to recover from it while acknowledging your emotions.
6 Different models of grief
“Grief is love not wanting to let go.” – Earl A. Grollman
Grief has been studied by numerous psychologists and experts over the years and a number of helpful models were developed to understand the experience more deeply. These models can guide us to better understand the processes and emotions related to this natural human experience. However, these models should only be referred to as a general rule of thumb as everyone experiences grief in their own personal way.
In this article, we are going take a quick look at the following popular models of grief:
- The Five Stages of Grief by Dr. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross and David Kessler
- Rando’s Six R Processes of Mourning/Recovery by Dr. Therese Rando
- The Four Phases of Grief by Dr. John Bowlby and Dr. Colin Murray Parkes
- Model of Loss/Adaptation by Mardi Horowitz, M.D.
- The Four Tasks of Mourning by Dr. J. William Worden
- Dual Process Model of Grief by Margaret Stroebe and Henk Schut
It is important to remember that none of these models are perfect and all of them have their own strengths and weaknesses. You can’t find any decisive model which will be applicable to every grieving individual.
Here are the 6 most popular models of grief:
1. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross & David Kessler’ Five Stages of Grief
Although originally developed for a terminally ill person accepting their impending death, the Kübler-Ross model is now widely applied to tragedy and grief as well. Being one of the most popular models of grief, the Kübler-Ross model proposes that an individual experiencing grief will go through 5 different stages, namely denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance – in no specific order.
It is regarded as the first of the 5 stages and may manifest through shock, rejection and disapproval of the tragedy being experienced. You may feel extreme sadness and numbness. Denial helps to accept loss and pacify the initial and sudden attack of pain.