When someone experiences a death whether it is expected or sudden, the emotions are similar.

Stages of development may include denial, anger, depression and acceptance.

Not every individual will go through each stage or they will go through each stage in varying degrees.

There are ways that you can help the individual pass through the stages of development that will ultimately lead them to acceptance. If you are the one who has lost someone very dear to you than being aware of the stages will let you understand the normalcy of each stage and will give you ways to define your grief and help you to adapt and re-enter the world.

The most important thing you can do to help someone is to let the person talk it out. Be there as their sounding board.

Even though death is apparent to the younger generation as they visualize this on television every day, it becomes a difficult reality when you have spent time and developed an attachment to the one who has been lost.

The living are the ones who are left behind suffering and battling our emotions.

Due to the shock of the loss of a loved one the individual may function through days in a dreamlike state of mind just moving from one moment to the next. Our feelings of denial and disbelief, “I was just talking to him yesterday”. “I can’t believe this is happening”, may lean towards guilt as we are plagued with the question of, “Why”, which we can't answer.

Death is something that is out of our control therefore we tend to lash out with frustration and deal with feelings of helplessness and possible outbursts of anger.

You blame the doctors for the death, “Why couldn’t they have done better”?, You blame yourself, “I should have been able to do more”.

You may even blame God, “How could you let this happen”? Your anger can be projected onto others as well as projected directly at the person who you feel has abandoned you to deal with the world on your own.

Depression may develop for many reasons. You may not have had the time to say your good-byes to someone who has past suddenly. You feel alone and defeated by the circumstances that have been dealt to you.

These are all common feelings as we fight to accept these changes that have turned our world upside down.

As days pass you may entertain several thoughts about how others should perceive death. As they try to cheer you up and lighten your load you wonder how they can seem so carefree and how they can smile at a time like this when there is so much grief and heartache. You feel that they should be experiencing the pain that you are feeling.

As you move into the acceptance stage and understand that you don’t have the ability to change what has happened it is best to continue to talk it out and busy your self with many projects.

Take baby steps to gradually re-enter the world. As time goes on small depressions will be normal as you hear your favorite song or visit a place that you had gone together before.

Some will tend to blind themselves from the loved ones faults and place them on a pedestal of perfection. If this is a spouse this may implant the idea that nobody could ever be able to take their place and therefore they stop looking for happiness.

These individuals must realize that all persons are unique and in that essence they can never be replaced, yet happiness is not forever out of their grasp.

They need to release guilt and understand that they are not betraying their love or their memories by finding happiness with another.

Thresholds of pain, anger and fear are not the same for everyone. There is no set time to accept death, to move on, to start another relationship.

Our universe as well as our being is based on balance which includes the giving of life and the taking of life. You must believe and accept as fact that their spirit and soul lives on.


This is a great gift of support to have on hand to help someone overcome and accept the feelings of loss due to a death.

Graceful Passages

Supportive and beautiful book and 2 CD's.

The creators say that the music and words are not just for the end of life, but for all the "little deaths" we experience, all the transitions and losses that come our way -- divorce, retirement, watching children leave, etc.

This book and CD help us face those passages more gracefully and to live our lives with acceptance, presence, and joy.


Other Related Links

  • The Powerful use of Guided Imagery
  • Is there life after death?
  • Dying Anxiety
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