A lot has been written about the grieving process. The Kuebler-Ross model, also known as the grief cycle, is probably the best known description of the grieving process. Dr. Kuebler-Ross' model offers 5 stages of grief that need to be traversed for grief to be resolved. However, grieving rarely follows a straight forward move through the different stages.
Kuebler-Ross has already pointed out that grieving is a very individual process. People may wander back and forth in the grief cycle, repeat stages over and over again, or may get stuck at some point. The 5 stages are:
- Denial - in this stage the person refuses to accept the reality of the loss.
- Anger - this is the stage in which the grieving person deals with the loss by being angry with him/herself and others, especially with people he/she is close to.
- Bargaining - in the bargaining stage the grieving person aims to soften the blow of the loss by 'making deals', for example in a relationship break-up wanting to remain friends.
- Depression - this stage signals that the person is starting to accept the loss. It is accompanied by sadness, regret, fear, and uncertainty.
- Acceptance- marks the 5th stage in which the person comes to terms with the loss and starts the emotional detachment.
Grieving is a very individual experience that differs from person to person. How and how much a person grieves depends on a wide range of factors. The significance of the loss, the available support, the strength of one's faith, individual coping style and other personality traits, general health, and one's financial security all influence the path of the grieving process.
This process is also affected by the grieving person's ability to look after him/herself and how much love and support the grieving person receives from people around him/her. These factors will determine whether the person is barely coping or safely moving through the grieving process.