The following is an explanation of the different steps of grieving to help you understand the process.  Although the following refers to the passing of a loved one as death, it is very important for you to know that you have not lost your loved one.  Your loved one is very much alive and with you.  You have not lost their love only the ability to see them in the same way as you did while they were human. 

The Grieving process is unique to each individual that experiences it.  There are NO rules that apply.  The stages of grief knows no calendar year. But there are many factors that influence your personal grief process.  It is the purest pain you have ever known. What is happening to you may leave you feeling alone but remember that death is, of all things, natural.  Every person in this world will or has experience the death of a loved one at one time in their life or another.  You are not alone!   

There are many stages of grief.  Not all people experience all of them.  There is no order to the emotion you may experience and you may experience all of the emotions and then repeat some of them again.  It is important to embrace the feelings and to recognize that what you are feeling is natural and most of all give yourself permission to feel.


If you hear yourself saying "I feel numb", "I don't know what to think" and feeling a loss of emotion and denial you are probably in post death shock. 

Shock will gradually dissipate and the ability to express emotions and deal with the passing will follow.

If you are the friend or a loved one of the bereaved, it is important to be patient with them and not to make demands on the bereaved to grieve.  


The following symptoms may come in waves lasting for various amounts of time.  Some lasting 30 minutes to an hour.  Others may last for months such as sleeplessness and depression.  If this occurs you should see your family physician, he/she may prescribe a sleep aid or anti-depressant.

  • Sleeplessness
  • A choking feeling, with shortness of breath
  • Depression
  • Hyperventilating
  • A choking feeling, with shortness of breath
  • Abnormal appetite.  (more or less than the normal amount consumed).


Emotions of all types are normal to experience during this process.  Beyond the normal feelings of sadness associated with the loss of a loved one, feelings of anger, guilt, fear and hopelessness are also felt by some people during this time.  All of these feelings are normal and should be expected.  Friends, loved ones, and yourself should not encourage the suppression of these feelings. Dealing and experiencing all of the emotions that one is having is important to the recovery process.

If feelings are suppressed they will often times surface at a later time in unhealthy ways.  Remember there are others that are also going though the grieving process and may be needing someone to share their feelings with.  This is a opportunity to express, share feelings, bond and heal for yourself and others.


Despite efforts to concentrate on the business at hand you might find yourself thinking about the deceased.  This is common in all losses but frequently happens to those that have lost a loved one due to terminal illness.  You may find yourself concerned with the lack of concentration but assure yourself that this is normal and not a permanent condition. 

As time passes and the healing process continues you will find that life will once again come into focus.


During the grieving process many may become depressed and go into seclusion.  The desire to withdraw from the world, friends, and daily routines is felt by some.  This is normal and will take effort on your part and the part of your family and friends to aid you with overcoming this desire.  Just remember that what you are now going through is for now but not forever.  This will pass!


At the beginning of your journey, you may feel there is no one that will ever replace the relationship you have lost.  The urge to avoid new relationships or circumstances that may lead to a bonding with someone also is not uncommon. There is no one that will ever replace the one you have lost but this does not mean that there not another person who can bring joy and love into your life also.  A new relationship does not negate the feelings or love you have for the deceased and many times the deceased have worked very hard on the other side to bring the new love or relationship to you.


Emotions take time to heal and the process comes gradually.  The memories and love are still there, but the wounds begins to heal.  As you find new interest and begin to get on with our life.  At the beginning of the grieving process, it will be hard to believe but you will be better in time.  By experiencing deep emotion and accepting it, you will grow in warmth, depth, understanding and wisdom. 



Copyright 2000  Patricia Mischell & The Positive Living Center
 All Rights Reserved

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