Each of us deals with grief and dying in different ways. Coping with loss is often one of the most difficult things each of us has to do within a lifetime and the closer we are to the person we have lost, the more difficult the mourning process becomes. Additionally, when the person we are mourning is ourself, the process becomes even more compounded by fear. There are 5 stages of dying/grieving that we go through, according to Elisabeth Kubler Ross who postulates the following 5 stages. These stages do not necessarily have to be utilized in the order presented and some individuals do not go through all of the 5 stages.
- Denial - Denial is a conscious or unconscious refusal to accept facts, information, really, etc., relating to the situation concerned. It's a defence mechanism and perfectly natural. Some people can become locked in this stage when dealing with a traumatic change that can be ignored. Death of course is not particularly easy to avoid or evade indefinitely.
- Anger - Anger can manifest in different ways. People dealing with emotional upset can be angry with themselves, and/or with others, especially those close to them. Knowing this helps keep detached and non-judgemental when experiencing the anger of someone who is very upset.
- Bargaining - Traditionally the bargaining stage for people facing death can involve attempting to bargain with whatever God the person believes in. People facing less serious trauma can bargain or seek to negotiate a compromise. For example, "Can we still be friends?.." when facing a break-up. Bargaining rarely provides a sustainable solution, especially if it's a matter of life or death.
- Depression - Also referred to as preparatory grieving. In a way it's the dress rehearsal or the practice run for the 'aftermath' although this stage means different things depending on whom it involves. It's a sort of acceptance with emotional attachment. It's natural to feel sadness and regret, fear, uncertainity, etc. It shows that the person has at least begun to accept the reality.
- Acceptance - Again this stage definitely varies according to the person's situation, although broadly it is an indication that there is some emotional detachment and objectivity. People dying can enter this stage a long time before the people they leave behind, who must necessarily pass through their own individual stages of dealing with the grief.