There is no sun without the shadow and, it is essential to know the night.
– Albert Camus
Phases of Grief
All of the responses of grief fall into three broad categories, which actually constitute the three major phases of response.
Avoidance: in which there is shock, denial, and disbelief.
- I can’t believe it. John cannot be dead!
- Oh, my God, help me. I will not survive!
- No! No! No! No! No!
- I cannot feel anything. This must be a dream.
Confrontation: a highly charged and emotional state in which you repeatedly learn that your loved one is dead and in which your grief is most intense, with reactions to your loss being felt most acutely.
- I feel like a part of me has died with her.
- Nothing means anything to me anymore. Not life, not work, not God – nothing.
- If only I could have persuaded him to go to the doctor sooner.
- Finally, it’s over. I couldn’t have taken much more of the illness. I feel bad, but I just couldn’t have endured any more.
Accommodation: in which there is a gradual decline in acute grief and the beginning of an emotional and social reentry into the everyday world in which you learn to live with your loss.
- I surprised myself when I heard myself laughing. It had been such a long time.
- Sometimes I feel guilty if I’m not in pain over my Dad’s death anymore.
- Let’s make a donation in Mom’s memory.
- How can I be grieving one day and happy the next?
- Well, I wouldn’t consider dating yet but I talked with him on the phone.
Grief is a journey that is difficult and unique to each person. We can grieve after a divorce, the loss of a job, or the death of a loved one. The depth of your pain and sorrow will change over time if you are able to share and experience your painful feelings in the company of a deeply supportive friend or family member. However, sometimes this is not enough and then it is very helpful to work with a compassionate and experienced counselor who is trained in bereavement and who can accompany you when your deep pain arises. There is hope.
Please contact me with any questions you may have.