There is no right or wrong way to grieve. All your feelings are normal. It is helpful, however, to know that human grief is a process that often follows a healing pattern.

Shock is the first stage. It is accompanied by disbelief and numbness.

Denial follows quickly, crying “I don’t believe it,” or “It can’t be.”

Bargaining is your promise that “I’ll be so very good that maybe I can wake up and find that it isn’t so. I’ll do all the right things if only….”

Guilt is painful and hard to deal with. This is when one says over and over, “If only I had…” or “If only I had not…” This is a normal feeling and ultimately it may be solved by stating, “I’m a human being and I gave the best and worst of me to my friend (child, husband, etc…) and what he or she does with that is his or her responsibility.

Anger is another big factor which seems to be necessary in order to face the reality of life and then to get beyond it. We must all heal in our own ways. Anger is a natural stage through which we must pass. Your anger at your deceased loved one may even make you feel guilty, or it may be because your own life continues whereas your friend’s life is over.

Depression is a stage of grief that comes and goes. Knowing this, be prepared to give yourself time to heal. Resignation is a late stage. It comes when finally you accept the truth.

Acceptance and hope! Understand that you will never be the same but your life can go on to find meaning and purpose.


Share your feelings with someone.
Discuss those feelings openly and frankly.
Show interest and support to those who need your help.
Get professional assistance!


For a printable version of “The Phases Of Grief”,
click here: Print Version


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Gold Line

From Bereavement and Support by Marylou Hughes
Taylor & Francis, 1995, Used with permission

Be patient with yourself. Do not compare yourself to others. Go through the mourning process at your own pace.

Admit you are hurting and go with the pain.

Apply cold or heat to your body, whichever feels best.

Ask for and accept help.

Talk to others.

Face the loss.

Stop asking “Why?” and ask “What will I do now?”

Recognize that a bad day does not mean that all is lost.



Keep to a routine.

Introduce pleasant changes into your life.

Know that you will survive.

Take care of something alive, such as a plant or a pet.

Schedule activities to help yourself get through weekends and holidays.

Find someone who needs your help.

Accept your feelings as part of the normal grief reaction.

Postpone major decisions whenever possible.

Do something you enjoy doing.

Write in a journal.

Be around people.

Schedule time alone.

Do not overdo.

Eat regularly.