Grieving is a critical part of inner healing. Whenever we have a loss of any kind we must take time to grieve through that loss rather than circumvent it. Most therapists agree on grief being a five step process.
I recommend recognizing this process not only in death but in life changes, healing from codependency, and moving forward from traumatic experiences. Please understand I am not a therapist or counselor of any kind. As in my other “relational” articles I am merely providing information and tools collected during my life and sharing them with others.
A lot of times we think there should be a time frame on grief but the truth is grieving is a continual process. In the extreme case of something traumatic like amputation in my life it is healthy to recognize that grieving will be a lifelong process. Every time I may attempt to do something that creates a feeling of loss inside of me because of difficulty, hardship, or any other hangup due to amputation I may have to head down this path of grieving. It may take an hour, a day, a week, or years but every small thing in life is important to grieve.
Grieving also is not the same thing as mourning. Grieving is not a black veil that affects every portion of our life and being. It is simply stopping for a moment and recognizing a feeling of loss inside of us and allowing that feeling to run its course in the capacity that we are able.
We will go through these emotions (not in any particular order):
Denial – Trying to go on with life as is the loss did not occur. This can come in many forms such as keeping busy, ignoring, refusing to talk about it, living in the past, etc.
Bargaining – Trying to figure out a way to control the situation or loss, finding a way to bring back what was loss, make excuses for the people who mistreated us causing a loss of need in us, etc.
Anger – Feeling anger for the loss, feeling anger because of being mistreated or abandoned, feeling angry because of loss of control in the situation or at God.
Depression – The fullness of the loss has caught up and feelings of sadness, loneliness, fatigue, and hopelessness can catch up. Feeling the reality of having no control and not having our needs met. Realizing what the needs are inside of us and that people cannot typically meet them.
Acceptance – We move on into this phase to make peace with our loss. This can come slowly but we begin to move forward with life. For Christians we begin to plug our needs into God and allow Him to be in control of our needs accepting that others will never be able to completely meet our expectations