When thinking about grief, it is important to note that everyone’s journey through grief is unique. There are both physical and emotional symptoms that occur and reoccur along that path. There are no steps to follow to definitively come to the end of the grieving process. You may be familiar with the stages of grief identified by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross in the 1960s:
- Denial – a protective mechanism employed to shield against the pain of the loss.
- Anger – often aimed at medical professionals, family members, higher powers, or even the person who has died.
- Bargaining – the desire to go back in time or to “wake up” from the painful dream related to the loss.
- Depression – deep sadness and withdrawal from ordinary life experiences.
- Acceptance – coming to terms with the facts of the situation.
The way the stages are organized makes it seem like these are the neat and clean stages that one should move through to process grief. This is a myth. People move in and out of these responses to loss, but it is good to have these responses defined and more deeply understood.
David Kessler, who worked with Kübler-Ross has since published a book called Finding Meaning: The Sixth Stage of Grief that expands on the original work and helps clear up some of the misconceptions about grief and loss.
Physical symptoms of grief include:
- Weight loss or weight gain
- Restlessness or long periods of inactivity
- Body pain
- Digestive issues
Notice the contradictory symptoms, which illustrate the fact that people experience grief differently.
Emotional symptoms include:
- Inability to concentrate
- Memory difficulties
Children can experience similar physical and emotional symptoms, however their understanding of the loss may be much different.
For the main article Grief and Loss, CLICK HERE
For the article Children’s Understanding of Loss and Grief, CLICK HERE
For the article Strategies to Support Children Who Have Experienced Loss, CLICK HERE
For the article Helping Families and Colleagues through Grief, CLICK HERE