As we enter the holiday season, many who have lost a loved one will experience grief. If the loss was recent, the grief may be overwhelming. But even if the loss was years ago, the holiday season often resurfaces an element of grief as we remember holidays past.
Around 30 years ago, Elisabeth Kubler-Ross described something called the “5 Stages of Grief” in her book “On Death and Dying.” Since then, people have started to use this guideline to understand how individuals go through the grieving process.
Denial is the first instinctive response to any kind of bad news. People immediately want to reject it and for the brief moment, they believe that rejecting the idea of loss will undo that loss. This is a part of the healthy coping mechanism but it shouldn’t last too long.
After denial comes anger. People believe their loss is unfair and the entire world should be mourning with them. They become frustrated with friends, family, and even strangers. This is also a healthy and instinctive response. Anger can last for a long time, especially if the circumstances of the loss are abrupt and traumatic.