Grief is all the thoughts, feelings, and sensations that occur when we experience a perceived loss, negative change, or death. Like a dark cloud or shadow which passes in front of the sun and blocks the light of the sun, grief can overcome us in darkness and confusion at times.
Dr. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross developed a model to help explain and understand grief, which includes these five stages of the grief and loss process:
- Denial and Isolation
While Elizabeth Kubler-Ross helped us to understand that there are multiple different elements to the experience of grief and loss, it was later confirmed that the grief process is unique for each person and therefore is not fully predictable. Instead, the process is more circular than linear, with people experiencing elements of the stages in different order and returning to some stages repeatedly. It is also helpful to note that we do not fully resolve grief and loss, but rather we recover from the intense pain of grief, which softens over time, and we develop ways to manage the grief and loss that are natural parts of life.
Two main styles of grieving are intuitive and instrumental. These styles exist on a continuum with intuitive on one side and instrumental on the other. Generally, research suggests that women tend to process grief more intuitively, in that they speak about their grief and identify their feelings. Men tend to be more instrumental and focus more on doing things and taking action. Some people find grieving to be so painful and frightening that they try to avoid the grieving process. However, since grief is a natural human response to loss, it is helpful to make space for the grieving process and to help others make space for it too.
Reach out to us at BRI for support on your unique grief journey and for help along the way, or to explore ways to help someone close to you who is struggling with grief and loss. We are here to help you grow more resilient through the grieving process.