Understanding the 5 Stages of Grief

Senior Couple Overlooking Ocean

Losing a loved one can make you feel all alone in the world, but the truth is that the stages or mourning and grief are universal and experienced by people from all walks of life. Today, there are five recognized stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. The five stages do not necessarily occur in any specific order, and some people do not experience all of the stages typically associated with grief. To help you through your grieving process, here is a look at the five stages of grief.


The first reaction most people experience upon learning of the death of a loved one is to deny the reality of the situation. Denial is a defense mechanism that protects us from the initial shock and pain of losing those closest to us.


As the reality of the situation sets in, the intense pain and suffering is redirected and often expressed instead as anger. This anger may be aimed at inanimate object, strangers, friends, family, or even our dying or deceased loved one for causing us pain.


Feelings of helplessness and vulnerability cause people to plead with God or another higher power in an attempt to postpone the inevitable or make our feelings of sadness go away. Bargaining is another line of defense that protects our emotions from the painful reality of death.


Sadness and regret are normal reactions to the news that a loved one is dying or has already passed on. There is also a quiet, private depression that most people deal with. This internal depression is often hidden from the rest of the world.


Reaching this stage of the grieving process can take months or even years. It takes great personal strength and resolve to accept the death of a loved one, as nobody can understand all of the emotions that you’re going through better than you.

Chapel of the Chimes in Oakland is here to help you through this trying time. With our online grief support and 24/7 access to our online counseling services, you’re never alone. Our funeral services planners can also help you bid a fitting farewell to your loved one. Call us today at (510) 654-0123 to schedule a consultation with one of our funeral directors.