The Five Major Stages of the Healing Process

Life is about stages, from the time one is born to the time they die. Even grieving has various stages whether after the death of a loved one or during the time a person is ill especially the terminally ill patients.
One always has hope that they will pull through but what happens when there is no glimmer of hope, when you know that death is an eventuality and not something that is unreal or unexpected?
It is always hard and it hurts until one does not know how to handle themselves around the ailing person.
When all signs say that there is no more life left and it is time to say goodbye, it is a process that takes one a long time to get over, it might even take some a whole lifetime just to move on while there are those that do not heal at all.
It becomes strange that you will have to live the rest of your life without that person being in your life. Everything starts from a beginning and ends somewhere. I had my grieving moments which made me a lot stronger.
Below are the five stages of healing after grief that I went through when my Mom died.

  • Denial
    I feel like I am in a bad dream that will not end. It is a nightmare that keeps going on and on with no end in sight. I want to pull out my hair and scream until my voice becomes hoarse. This cannot be happening, it canoe be true. Not now, not ever. Why can’t I wake up from this horrible out of body experience? Whose idea for a bad joke is this? I feel like somebody else is telling me a story and living this life. Hat must be it. I am just watching from a distance as this can never be real. Somehow I feel numb, I cannot feel or hear anything. I know I will wake up and this will be over soon, I know it…

I could not accept the situation as it was, my mind didn’t want to process giving me all kinds of excuses as to why the situation should not be like that. I just couldn’t accept the fact that it was really happening. You never want to believe that it is real. You must have woken up from a really bad nightmare. You believe it can never be true. It just cannot be.

  • Anger
    Aaaaah! This is not fair! Why me? Why now? How? So many questions keep going through my mind I don’t know where to start. Nothing or no one in this world will ever make me better. No one has ever felt this kind of pain before. The pain I am feeling goes deeper than the physical, knowing I will never hold her again; never hear her laughter or voice. I will never wrap my arms around her waist and hold her tight when I have a bad dream. How am I supposed to walk through life? Why did you have to take her away from me? Why?

Everything and everyone that reminded me of the bad situation angered me. I hated the fact that everyone else gets to have their loved one while I had nothing. I become frustrated that there was nothing I could do to reverse the loss. This is where you lash out at everything and everyone. No one escape from your wrath. Everything is just never right, outbursts lead to or are preceded with angry tears. Curse you shall as there is really nothing else that you allow yourself to feel, except ANGER!

  • Bargain
    Every day I miss you. Wishing you were here with me. This loneliness comes and goes away, haunting and incomprehensible. I feel lost in this crazy world and wish you were here to see me through life. It hurts that you will not be there for all the important events in my life…my graduation, my wedding, your first grandchild…everything I always did great because you were there. Now that you are gone I do not want to care anymore. I feel like life does not matter. Everything that reminds me of you makes me wish I could see you again. For just one moment. If God told me to live for only 24 hours and see you, touch you, tell you how much I love you, I would choose death … for one final glimpse of you…

I would have done, given, said, or acted in any way if only I could change the situation as it was or even try to reverse it. I could even have gone to extremes to stop my loved one from suffering and dying. You make promises of things that you would do given the chance to see your loved one again.

  • Depression
    In my mother’s eyes there is a strength I draw, stability that gives me life. I find my way in them. In her arms I feel safe and secure, nothing in the world can make me fear. In her hands is a firm grip that tightens to protect and lead me along the shadowy paths to ensure I finish my journey. At my mother’s feet I found blessings that I cannot count, humility that makes me who I am. In her heart is where I reside each passing day, where her love for me radiates. It is a home I live forever. In my mother’s laughter, I find myself, my joy, my happiness as I learn about myself knowing life is a gift. In my mother’s words there is a wisdom I cannot explain, a fountain of knowledge that never dries. In those words I grow each day as sure as the sun rises and sets. In her tears I found a fountain of comfort for dark days, they are an ocean to wash away my loneliness. Those tears so golden never fading. On my mother’s bosom life seemed to pass by without a care. It is where I listened to her heart beat as a strong bond formed made to tie and bound the promises we made. Her breath took me away. In my mother’s name I stand grounded with roots so deep defining who I am to be. Continuing the legacy she began, and counting the dreams. In my mother’s eyes, I see me…

I had moments of solitude where everything now started to sink in. Nothing seemed to matter anymore. I started existing instead of living. The pain became more real as the hurt become deeper. I began to process everything but still no comfort offered to me by anyone was enough to reduce the sense of loss that I felt. This is where you shut down completely, you never want to speak to anyone about anything. The world stops existing and you find yourself in limbo, zombie like even. Depression lasts as long as you allow it to. For some they never come out of it, some might even take their own lives because now all the painful emotions that they could not allow in comes crashing on them. This is the hardest part to deal with. Most dangerous stage of the grieving process.

  • Acceptance
    I am still working on it…One day at a time…
    Life has never been easy but I am getting there.

This stage takes from a few years to never, depending on the kind of relationship you had with your loved one. Accepting the fact that they are gone is the beginning of the rest of your life.
Still, hope is the only thing that will keep you from completely disappearing into the world of oblivion. Support from your family, friends and even relatives will keep you strong as you try to heal, most importantly God’s strength will be there when you need it the most.
So go ahead and cry if you have to, releasing those tears will help you release all those emotions that can consume you.


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