« The hard work of grief is generally done in 5 stages” Yves Alphé, from Caritas Obsèques in Orléans reminds us.
What is grief?
After the death of a loved one triggers what is called the grieving process. Generally associated with suffering, grief is also seen as a necessary process of deliverance.
The very first confrontation with death represents a turning point, a new stage in our life. When the death of a loved one has been announced, it is not always easy to realize the definitive departure of the loved one.
It is estimated that it takes about 24 hours to actually achieve the death. The shock causes a kind of numbness that has a protecting role from the pain. Once this period has passed, pain arises and the grieving process must begin.
In the face of mourning, everyone reacts differently, depending on their personality, their relationship with the diceased person, their environment, their perception of death and so on. However, psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross distinguishes 5 major stages in the grieving process, which Yves Alphé now wishes to present to you:
The 5 stages of mourning
The first stage of bereavement (when one learns of the loss of the loved one), it is a more or less intense phase where emotions seem almost absent. In a short period of time, it is followed by the reality of loss.
After denial comes anger. Anger aroused in the face of the reality of loss, a mourning state lived as an injustice. The reality of the fact (death) will provoke an attitude of revolt, even guilt and many questions.
A sort of “negotiation with death”, this so-called bargaining phase is the stage of mourning during which the surviving loved one tries to negotiate with himself a return of the diceased person, before really becoming aware that this return to the past is impossible and that death is irreversible. This is when the next stage of grief begins.
Distress, questioning and sadness are the three key words in this stage of grief. This is usually the longest stage and is accompanied by great moral and psychological distress. Assistance is then required, by the survivors’ relatives and/or by professionals, such as the funeral home Caritas Obsèques of Yves Alphé.
The last stage of bereavement, acceptance represents the period when the survivor understood and finally accepted the loss of his or her deceased relative. The void left behind the deceased person of course still generates sadness and a feeling of lack, but the surviving person gradually regains a normal way of living and thinking, reminds Yves Alphé.
Returns backwards that must be taken into account.
The person that survived can go back and forth before starting to move on with the grieving process. Sharing one’s feelings and emotions with loved ones or bereaved people as well can help to make better progress on this difficult path in order to continue one’s normal life and keep good memories of the disappeared person while managing to cope with his irreversible disappearance.
Moreover, we are all different: these stages do not necessarily follow one another. This is not an inevitable mechanism, as Yves Alphé reminds.