What Are the Various Stages of Mourning?
Inevitably, everyone will mourn a loved one in the course of their life. Being confronted with the loss of a loved one, whether a family member or simply someone close to us, is never easy to go through. Grieving is a long journey that each person must face at their own pace in order to regain peace of mind and get on with life. Grieving is experienced differently for each individual and can last from several weeks to a few years, even though the average is about a year. Regardless of how bereaved people grieve, they will have to go through the five main stages of mourning in order to be able to regain a taste for life.
The 5 main stages of mourning
The first stage is undoubtedly shock and denial. Although death is sometimes foreseeable, a person who receives the news is in a state of shock and often refuses to believe it. This defence mechanism prevents the information from being assimilated and therefore prevents the pain from coming to the surface. This brief phase should not be encouraged by those close to the bereaved. Bereaved people must accept to take the plunge, as it is only the first step in the long grieving process.
When bereaved people become aware of the reality and are confronted with the physical loss of the loved one in their life, this is when emotions are the most intense and turbulent. Bereaved people then face the anger/protest phase where they rebel against what they feel as unfairness. This stage is particularly painful and delicate to go through since it leaves a lot of room for blame and guilt feelings.
The third stage is when bereaved people fight their anger and irrationally try to negotiate the return of their lost loved one with a higher power. Negotiation can also be attempted with oneself in order to find compensation for the emptiness felt. Faced with the reality of the departure of the deceased, the strong emotions become less intense and less frequent, giving way to great sadness. Bereaved people with fragile emotional stability then enter a phase of depression.
As the pain is at its peak, bereaved people become more and more aware of the loss of their loved one. Their world crumbles and they quietly sink into a long period of the blues, which is called depression. This fourth stage is the most difficult to go through, making the person unable to cope with everyday life, unsociable and lacking in energy. It is the time when the imagination calms down and the emotional fog is lifted. Bereaved people are then immersed in their distress. This period can seem interminable for many individuals, as the emotions felt seem insurmountable.
Acceptance is the final step in the grieving process. It enables bereaved people to break out of their pain and isolation. This is followed by slow recovery, where the bereaved resign themselves to accepting the reality of the situation. Life then slowly gets back to normal and the bereaved recover their energy and all of their faculties. Once the reality is assimilated, bereaved people can move forward and reorganize their life around the loss, without forgetting their loved one, but accepting their loved one’s departure.
Although these 5 stages are essential in order to get through the difficult period of mourning, we must not forget that helping, supporting and listening to bereaved people can make all the difference in their grieving process. Turn to the Crematorium Montréal team to guide you through this sad time and thereby give you more time to grieve and, in this way, help you along the long road to healing.