According to Dr. Rando, going through these 6 processes at your own pace will help you move ahead in your life.
3. Dr. John Bowlby & Dr. Colin Murray Parkes’ Four Phases of Grief
“I think grieving is the same for everybody that lost someone you love deeply. It’s the same. You know, you’re really no different than anybody else who’s lost somebody they adored.” – Lee Radziwill
The Four Phases model by Bowlby and Parkes was derived from Bowlby’s work on attachment theory and was applied to bereavement and grief. This model includes the following four phases:
3.1. Shock and numbness
When we grieve losing a loved one, we often feel that loss is nearly impossible to welcome and accept. We feel that it is not our reality. If we are unable to cope with this phase properly, we might experience depression of related symptoms that will hold us from progressing to the next phases.
3.2. Yearning and searching
During this phase, you will be aware of losing your loved one. However, as you begin to realize that you have to live a future in their absence, you will start looking for ways to fill the emptiness. It is crucial that you allow yourself to create a different and a new future life where you’re not crippled by the pain of loss.
3.3. Despair and disorganization
“Grief is not a disorder, a disease or sign of weakness. It is an emotional, physical and spiritual necessity, the price you pay for love. The only cure for grief is to grieve.” – Earl Grollman
In this stage, you have accepted the fact that your previous vision of the future will not be possible anymore and that your life will never be the same. This may lead to intense feelings of hopelessness, anxiety, anger and despair. You may also keep questioning yourself trying to process these realizations.
3.4. Reorganization and recovery
Grieving will help you to build a new life as you feel contentment and joyousness coming back to you. You will start feeling that although you will miss them forever, you can still be positive about life and form new connections and relationships. Even though the pain will never go away, the heaviness starts to disappear.
4. Mardi Horowitz’s Model of Loss/Adaptation
This model by Mardi Horowitz helps you better understand the different patterns, emotions and process of grief. It can be used as a helpful guide to get through the grieving process.
“Tearless grief bleeds inwardly.” – Christian Nevell Bovee
The initial response of realizing that you have lost a loved one is usually an emotional outcry. You may express it outwards by publicly crying, screaming and collapsing. On the other hand, you may keep your emotions suppressed so that it doesn’t become uncontrollable. Feelings associated with the initial outcry require a significant amount of energy to sustain & doesn’t last long.
4.2. Denial and intrusion
After the outcry, you will swing back and forth between denial & intrusion.Here, denial refers to not feeling or thinking about the loss, while intrusion refers to constantly thinking and intensely feeling the loss. You may tend to overcompensate by becoming a workaholic or feel overwhelmed with emotions. However, if you don’t feel the intensity of the loss, then that’s okay. It is natural to rest and reconstruct yourself to manage the pain.
4.3. Working through
During this stage, you will process your feeling about the loss and start seeking and figuring out new ways to live your life with your deceased loved one. You will start to rebuild your life by making new friends, pursuing new hobbies, engaging in fulfilling activities and investing in new relationships.
The process of grieving will eventually come to an end at some point. As you will learn to live with your loss, life will begin to feel normal once again. However, that doesn’t mean you will forget about your loved one or won’t miss them. It simply means that you will be less attached to the crippling pain and it will not mess with your daily life anymore. You may still feel a reactivation of grief, but these will be minor and temporary.