Experts generally accept there are four stages of bereavement:
- accepting that your loss is real
- experiencing the pain of grief
- adjusting to life without the person who has died
- putting less emotional energy into grieving and putting it into something new – in other words, moving on
You’ll probably go through all these stages, but you won’t necessarily move smoothly from one to the next. Your grief might feel chaotic and out of control, but these feelings will eventually become less intense.
- shock and numbness – this is usually the first reaction to the death, and people often speak of being in a daze
- overwhelming sadness, with lots of crying
- tiredness or exhaustion
- anger – for example, towards the person who died, their illness, or God
- guilt – for example, guilt about feeling angry, about something you said or didn’t say, or about not being able to stop your loved one dying
These feelings are all perfectly normal. The negative feelings don’t make you a bad person. Lots of people feel guilty about their anger, but it’s OK to be angry and to question why.
Some people become forgetful and less able to concentrate. You might lose things, such as your keys. This is because your mind is distracted by bereavement and grief. You’re not losing your sanity.