When you experience the death of a loved one or family member, there are stages you all go through in order to process the loss that person has left in your life. These 5 stages of grief are completely natural and are a way for hearts and minds to mend themselves before coming to terms with death. The five stages of grief, also known as the Kübler-Ross model, are denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.
Denial: In this first step, the person experiencing grief refuses to accept the death they've experienced. It's an important coping mechanism in the initial first days after the death of a loved one. The denial of death allows you to cope with the immediate tasks at hand, such as informing other family members and friends and making funeral preparations. Denial can make you feel numb and, while these emotions are not healthy in the long-term, they help you move forward in the days following death.
Anger: Once your denial fades, it is typically replaced with anger. In this phase of the 5 stages of grief, it is typical to blame everyone else. You feel rage and anger for others that are still alive and ask yourself "Why me?" While the outward emotion experienced by those around you is anger, there is pain buried underneath the surface. It's important not to suppress the anger felt when grieving the loss of someone close. If you openly express anger, it slowly dissipates and gives access to the deeper pain you feel.
Bargaining: This stage of grief can take on many forms. You may try to strike a deal with God to bring back your loved one or promise anything just to have everything back to the way it was before the loss. This stage is riddled with thoughts of "What if..." and "If only..." as you attempt to come up with a solution that will bring things back to the way they once were.
Depression: Of the 5 stages of grief, this stage may take months or years to move through. There is no predetermined length of time to heal from depression. In this stage, you begin to feel the emptiness of your life now that your loved one is gone. During this time, you may withdraw from friends and family and feel overwhelmed with the prospect of managing grief.
Acceptance: In this stage, you come to the realization that your loss is real and it is a part of life. This is not to say you are "OK" with the loss experienced, but you accept it as the new norm and try to rediscover happiness . During acceptance, you can begin to rebuild your life around the fact that, although someone important is no longer physically alive, they will be in your heart and mind forever.
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