Understanding the Five Stages of Grief

Grief is defined as the anguish experienced after a significant loss, usually the death or loss of a beloved person. While it often includes physiological distress, separation anxiety, confusion, yearning, obsessive dwelling on the past, and apprehension about the future, it can result in very complex and scary emotions and can be challenging to navigate. The best way to understand the grieving process is to learn about the five universal stages. From denial and anger to bargaining, depression, and acceptance, here is a breakdown of the five stages of grief.


Grief is triggered by the traumatic event of losing a loved one, and often, the intensity of the emotions is too much to handle initially. Because of this, denial is a natural first stage of grief and can be your way of protecting yourself. Denying that you have lost someone gives you more time to process and absorb the news of the loss, and this defense mechanism helps lessen the intensity of the situation.   


Once reality begins to set in, denial isn’t as easy anymore, and often, the feelings associated with grief turn outward anger. This powerful emotion can be intense as a masking effect, helping hide many of the emotions and pain the loss carries.   Anger may mask itself in feelings like bitterness or resentment. It may not be clear-cut fury or rage. While not everyone will experience this stage of grief, others may linger here, and it is a very natural progression in the grieving process.


Other feelings that emerge during grief include vulnerability, desperation, and helplessness, and bargaining often succeeds anger. During this stage, you may look for ways to regain control by creating a lot of “what if” statements or by attempting to negotiate with a higher power to reverse the loss. 


While anger and bargaining are often loud and outward, the overwhelming sadness caused by the loss leads to the quietest stage of grief, depression. By this point in your grieving process, you may be able to embrace and work through them more healthfully. You may also choose to isolate yourself from others to cope with the loss entirely. 

It’s important that while this stage of grief is necessary to go through to heal, you make sure to get help from a mental health expert if you feel stuck or can’t seem to move past this stage of grief. 


Acceptance is the final stage of grief, and while it doesn’t mean you’ve moved past the loss or are feeling happy, it does mean you’ve accepted the loss and can embrace a more stable emotional state. The significant change in your life now feels real, and you are ready to move into your new normal.

Understanding the five stages of grief is essential for anyone navigating the painful journey of loss. This knowledge can be beneficial because it demonstrates that the process is normal even though these feelings are painful. There is light at the end of the tunnel.

Help in Louisiana if you need it

Grief is overwhelming, and when you are faced with healing after a loss, you must take the time and space you need. The aftermath of a death by suicide can be particularly challenging as property owners may have to handle the aftermath, including proper bodily fluids cleanup and legal hazardous materials disposal, while still coping with the traumatic event. 

If you or a loved one has experienced a sudden or unexpected death due to suicide in Louisiana, please do not hesitate to contact Xtreme Cleaners for professional and compassionate support. We understand the weight of such a situation, and we are here to offer our compassionate and professional services to help you and your family during this difficult time. Together, we can help you take the first steps towards healing and recovery after a traumatic event.