So far, we have explained the first 4 stages of grief and loss: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, and Depression. Remember that everyone grieves in their own way, and there is no "right" way of grieving. The fifth stage of grief and loss is another important one to the process, and that is acceptance. Acceptance doesn't mean that you no longer have sadness or pain. It means that you come to a place of peace and understanding in your heart, and realize that it's going to be okay. For some, acceptance means that they can finally get to a place of seeing the loss as an opportunity to grow and learn, recognizing the ways the loss has made them a stronger and wiser person. It may mean they get to a place where they can reach out to others who are going through a similar struggle and connect with them in a supportive way. Though sometimes, the acceptance stage for some people can create an intense need to be alone while they process through the heaviness of coming to terms with the loss. Generally speaking, many times an individual going through acceptance comes to a place where their anger, sadness, and shock move into a place of peace, though it is not uncommon for an individual to move from Acceptance back into another stage of grief and loss from time to time (especially at the initial stages of loss). Again, remember that everyone grieves differently, and there is no right or wrong way to go through the stages of grief. The most important part is that you allow yourself to embrace the strong feelings that accompany a loss, and to seek professional help if you feel you are "stuck" in your grieving process, or if you feel too overwhelmed to get through it alone. A good support system is of great importance during this process, so you do not feel alone in your pain.
Imagine Hope Counseling has some great resources and articles on grief and loss. Feel free to check them out at http://www.imaginehopecounseling.com/topicarticles.php?ID=7 . If you are grieving a loss and need direction, inspiration and hope, don't hesitate to call us! Our therapists are all trained in helping clients through such a difficult time.
Joleen Watson, MS, NCC, is a therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. She enjoys doing marriage counseling, relationship counseling, couples counseling, and individual counseling. Imagine Hope also specializes in family, child and adolescent counseling and serves Indianapolis area including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Noblesville, Zionsville, Westfield, and Fishers.