The seven stages of grief.

What to expect after we lose a loved one.

stages of grief

Terminal illnesses are the most debilitating things we ever are faced to deal with emotionally. When we know our loved ones are going to depart that causes major psychological stress and the accompanying grief when they pass is that much more intense. FIP is one of the worst scenarios to ever be faced with because most times we only have a few days with in which to process what is happening. We feel a sense of helplessness and defeat that there is nothing we can do. We try all that we can and yet despite every effort, and often times huge financial costs, we still lose that which we loved most. This group, FIP Advisory and Care Group, was created to not only provide advice on treatments and diagnostic tests but also help us all through this. But what about afterwards? Yes, we are still here to offer the support and guidance that is needed so desperately - some need it more than others.

However, to help understand what you are going through after your loss you also need to be aware of the different stages that grief follows. Some people may become stuck in one stage and can never move forward to complete the healing process that is required. What is crucial is to have a support structure; people who are there to listen and help you cope as you go through each stage. In that way healing will eventually come. It does not mean you will "move on". To "move on" means to leave behind and forget. We never forget those who came into our lives and meant so much to us. They always remain an indelible part of who we are, shaping us into what we become. The grief process helps us to come to terms with and process what has happened. To help dull that sharp edge of pain we feel when someone we love so deeply leaves us. Our souls do live on and it's important to know that we will be re-united with our soul families once we cross the veil (Journey Of Souls by Michael Newton helped me so much when I lost my mom and recently my heart cat)

Many feel lost. They feel like wandering souls who have lost the part of themselves that was the very reason for living. If you can understand that it is all part of a process and to reach out to those who understand and can help, then you will move through each stage and came to reach the end stage. Every stage takes a different amount of time for each person. No one can hurry you on but as long as you do progress to the next stage. I took 8 years to reach the final stage after my mom passed away; for some it takes longer and for others a lot less. But know that what you are going through at any one time is normal and part of the grief experience. Help is always out there somewhere. For those who have lost to FIP this is that help and this page is that somewhere.

FIP Advisory and Care Group
Project FIP for South Africa


The seven stages of grief explained.

Most people react to learning about a loss with numbed disbelief. You may deny the reality of the loss at some level, in order to avoid the pain. Shock provides emotional protection from being overwhelmed all at once. This may last for weeks.
As the shock wears off, it is replaced with the suffering of excrutiating pain. Although it feels unbearable, it is important that you experience the pain fully, and not hide it, avoid it or escape from it with alcohol or drugs. You may have guilty feelings or remorse over things you did or didn't do with your loved one. Life feels chaotic and scary during this phase.
Frustration gives way to anger. You may lash out and lay unwarranted blame for the death on someone else –try to control this, as permanent damage to your relationships may result. This is a time to release bottled up emotion. You may rail against fate, questioning "Why me?" You may also try to bargain in vain with the powers that be for a way out of your despair ("I will never drink again if you just bring him back")
A long period of sad reflection overtakes you. Realization of the true magnitude of your loss sets in and it saddens you. You may isolate yourself on purpose, reflect on things you did with your lost one, and focus on memories of the past. You may sense feelings of emptiness or despair.
As you start to adjust to life without your dear one, your life becomes a little calmer and more organized. Your physical symptoms lessen, and your "depression" begins to lift slightly.
You become more functional and your mind starts working again. You will find yourself seeking realistic solutions to problems posed by life without your loved one. You will start to work on practical and financial problems and reconstructing yourself and your life without him or her.
In this last stage, you learn to accept and deal with the reality of your situation. Acceptance does not necessarily mean happiness. Given the pain and turmoil you have experienced, you can never return to the carefree, untroubled YOU that existed before this tragedy, but you will find a way forward. You will start to look forward and actually plan things for the future. Eventually, you will be able to think about your lost loved one in sadness but without wrenching pain. You will once again anticipate some good times to come, and yes, even find joy again in the experience of living.