Everyone experiences grief in their own way. However, grief counseling experts have found that there are five main stages that people tend to move through as they mourn their loss. Understanding these stages will help you face your emotions and learn how to move forward. Keep in mind that not everyone goes through all five stages, they may not go through it in this order, and they may experience some phases multiple times.

5 Stages of Grief

1. Denial

This stage occurs when the bereaved has difficulty processing the overwhelming emotion to the difficult news. This temporary response may last anywhere from a few minutes to many months. It’s a defense mechanism designed to protect the individual from shock.

2. Anger

Some people use anger to mask the more difficult emotions that accompany the loss of a loved one. The anger may be directed at yourself, the deceased, or other people.

For example, someone may feel intense guilt, blaming themselves for the death or regretting their last interactions with the deceased. They may take out their anger through destructive behaviors or insincere statements. This stage is often irrational, but it’s how many people deal with intense sadness.

3. Bargaining

grief counselingThis stage serves as a temporary reprieve from the pain. Many people turn to a higher power to bargain for seeing their loved one again in heaven. This stage may be accompanied by guilt, as people ask “what-if” questions and wonder if they should’ve done something differently.

4. Depression

This stage may begin when the reality of the loss sinks in. As the emotions catch up with the bereaved, they may become overwhelmed by the feelings.

People often isolate themselves from others to cope with the loss, and they may find it difficult to continue with life as normal. People experience depression differently; some may experience insomnia, while others have trouble getting out of bed and feel foggy all the time.

5. Acceptance

Acceptance occurs when the individual recognizes the loss and understands how their life has changed. This stage doesn’t mean that they’re happy or okay with the loss, but they’ve accepted their new reality and are learning to live with it.


If you’ve recently experienced a loss, the grief counseling experts at Cornwell Funeral Home will guide you through this difficult time. Since 1898, this funeral home in Dardanelle, AR, has served families with compassionate and professional care. They will help with everything from the funeral arrangements to grief counseling sessions. Learn more about the company online, or call (479) 229-2524 to speak with a friendly representative.