Grief is a complex, universal experience that can occur at any time. Most people may be more likely to experience grief due to a loss. When we hear about grief and loss, we associate it with bereavement, but we can go through the grieving process whenever we feel a sense of loss.
Each person will experience grief differently, which is okay; some people may share their experience more readily, while others will not be able to talk about it for a long time. It is unclear why this process differs for people, and there is not one “right” way to go through it. Sometimes many emotions may be present such as sadness, anxiety, anger, loss, disbelief, shock, mood swings, or inability to perform daily tasks, and they may vary in length and intensity. Other times, grief may feel “more manageable,” which is also okay.
According to Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, the author of the book On Death and Dying, there are five stages of grief that people move through as they grieve. These stages are our attempts to process change and protect ourselves while we adapt to a new reality. There is denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Since grief is not a linear process, stages do not happen in any particular order but rather fluctuate. One may last longer than the next.
Grief can be a traumatic experience, especially if a suffered loss is sudden, unexpected, and has life-changing consequences. Still, it is a normal, healthy response after suffering a loss. It can take time to process your loss to heal and move forward; some days may be more triggering than others.
While nobody can experience how you grieve, sharing your experience with someone you trust may help you cope. Sometimes when the loss is less obvious, you may not even know that you are going through a grieving process. Consider reaching out for support to loved ones, friends, or professionals.