Grief is an integral facet of life, a journey marked by intricate emotions that may feel overwhelming and challenging to grasp. It's a non-linear process, entirely unique to each individual. By understanding our grief, we empower ourselves to take the most effective steps forward—navigating the path to process, cope, and eventually heal.
You might be familiar with the concept of the 5 Stages of Grief, often seen as a roadmap for navigating through loss. However, it's essential to clarify that these stages are descriptive rather than prescriptive. The term "stages" can sometimes give the impression that one must complete each phase in a specific order, but this isn't the case at all.
Instead, consider these as 5 common experiences of grief. There's no requirement to go through them in a particular sequence, or you might not experience all of them. Grief is an intensely personal journey, unique to each individual and every loss. Viewing these experiences as a way to understand certain facets of grief can help in acknowledging the diverse and unpredictable nature of the grieving process. Here are some common experiences based on the 5 stages of grief:
Here are some more common experiences not based on the 5 stages of grief:
Looking at photo albums and laughing
Emotional, mental and physical exhaustion
Wanting to go back and do things differently
Lack of motivation
Sharing stories about your loved one
And so many more
There is no right or wrong way to experience your grief or to navigate your feelings. You may feel something similar to the 5 stage of grief and you may not, both are completely fine! It's also okay to reach out for support. Just because loss is a part of life, does not mean it is easy to go through and with the right support, we can begin to sit with and understand our grief.