Stages of Grief

Many of us will experience some or all of these stages in varying order and intensity. The Holy Spirit as our Comforter will strengthen us to help others in our family find support, encouragement and hope as we walk with them through grief and into His healing presence.


This really hasn’t happened or shouldn’t have happened.  Or, if I had done something or more, it wouldn’t have happened.  So, denial may be accompanied by guilt, blame or condemnation.  Trusting Christ, we know that there is no condemnation in Him (Romans 8:1) and that we can face reality because He is the truth. (John 8:32)


Why did God let this happen?  Or the anger may be projected at other people including healthcare providers or family members.  Anger may be projected at oneself when that person didn’t have the opportunity to be with the loved one at death or express to the loved one before death their love for him or her.  While feelings of anger may be real and expressed, we can move out of anger knowing that God works in every situation for good in the lives of those who love Him (Romans 8:28)


When learning of a terminal illness, a person may try to bargain with God.  After loss, family members may regret the way a loved one lived life and try to bargain with God or go through the regret process of imaging, ‘If only…’  We cannot relive the past or dwell there (Isaiah 43:18-19)


This part of grief is filled with feelings of sadness, loss, emptiness and even despair if a person does not know Jesus as Lord and Savior.  As Christians we can take off the spirit of heaviness and put on a garment of joy.  (Isaiah 61)


A final realization that the loved one is gone and life must go on.  Acceptance comes best with the faith that Jesus Christ is the Resurrection and the Life. (John 11).


Elizabeth Kubler-Ross wrote about these stages in On Death and Dying.  These five stages are common responses that people have in hearing traumatic news including hearing and growing through the grief that comes when a loved one dies.


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See also:
When a Family Loved One Dies
Helping your Child through the Grief of Divorce