If you do an internet search about grief, loss, or bereavement, many sites will talk about the stages of grief. Are there five? Seven? In any case, we all want to know what those stages are, so that we can predict what our experience might be, and perhaps see some light at the end of the tunnel.
I think that there is some validity to the documented stages. I am glad, for example, that people who feel angry can see that they are not alone, and that for some, anger and rage is part of the grieving experience. I do, however, feel very cautious about the concept of stages in the grieving process.
Grief is a very individual experience. It is not a linear path, but a road with steps forward and back, up and down, with unforeseen turns and twists. No one grieves in the same way . . . and that is OK. I think that we yearn for a roadmap, for stages to expect, because the journey is often so difficult. We like to know what is coming next, and many of us feel unmoored when facing a big or complex loss.
Some of us might feel worried when we see that we are not fitting into those prescribed stages of grief. I hope that it will be helpful to hear that we will all make meaning of our losses in our own way. It may be challenging, but we will slowly create our own unique maps. They will trace our struggles and our moments of smooth sailing. These are our stories.
Wishing everyone healing and hope as they forge their path.