Understanding Normal Grief and Its Different Stages

Grief is your natural response to losing a person you love or something that you value so much. It may be due to the death of a loved one, end of a long relationship, terminal illness, or loss of financial security. The loss may trigger various emotions including loneliness, anger, sadness, and grief.

There are many ways to deal with grief. If your grief is caused by the death of a loved one, there are grief and bereavement programs at the Center for Hospice Care in Indiana that can help you cope.

Grief happens in stages. Each phase triggers an emotion. Knowing the different phases of grief can help you manage your different emotions.


The first time you hear about your loss, you may find it hard to believe. You may experience shock or numbness. It is your defense mechanism at work. This way, you can handle the overwhelming rush of emotions.


As the truth sinks in, you start to feel pain. You begin to feel helpless and frustrated. Then, everything turns into anger. You may feel anger towards your loved one for leaving you this way. That is normal. You may also get angry with other people, and sometimes, with life in general.


At this phase, you focus on what you could and should have done to reverse what happened. Thoughts and phrases like “what if” and “if only” are common during this stage.


As you get to understand your loss and how it will change your life, sadness creeps in. Crying, decreased appetite, and sleep problems are common signs of the depression stage. You often feel lonely, sorry, and overwhelmed.


During the final phase of grief, you start to accept reality. Your loss happened, and nothing can change that. Soon, you will be ready to move forward with your life.

Each person undergoes these stages in different ways. Some may skip a phase or two, and some may go through various stages more than once. By understanding each stage, you get a better grip on your emotions.