Grief is a natural response to loss. It is the emotional suffering one feels when something or someone the individual loves is taken away. Grief is also a reaction to any loss. The grief associated with death is familiar to most people, but individuals grieve in connection with a variety of losses throughout their lives, such as unemployment, ill health or the end of a relationship. When going through the grieving process it is not the same for everyone, but many people do have a common goal, acceptance of the loss and to always keep moving forward. There is no one single correct way to go through the grieving process. This process is different for every person but can be understood to proceed through a few basic stages.
SHOCK AND DENIAL
Shock is the initial reaction to loss. Shock is the person's emotional protection from being too suddenly overwhelmed by the loss. The person may not yet be willing or able to believe what their mind knows to be true.
Intense concern is often shown by not being able to think of anything else. Even during daily tasks, thoughts of the loss keep coming to mind. Conversations with one at this stage often turn to the loss as well.
DESPAIR AND DEPRESSION
Despair and depression is a long period of grief, the most painful and protracted stage for the griever (during which the person gradually comes to terms with the reality of the loss). The process typically involves a wide range of feelings, thoughts, and behaviors. Many thoughts or behaviors may be irrational. Depression can include feelings of anger, guilt, sadness and anxiety.
The goal of grieving is not the elimination of all the pain or the memories of the loss. Rather, the goal is one of healing and integration. The goal is to reorganize one's life, so the loss can still remain a part of one's life but not continue as the main focus. In this stage, one shows a new interest in daily activities and begins to function normally day to day.