Grief is something that is a unique experience for everyone. While there are steps that most people go through during a period of grief, not everyone experiences it in the same order or with the same intensity. Our life experiences make our grief personal and unique. Would an 18 year old and a 40 year old experience the loss of their parents in the same way or with the same intensity? Probably not. Why? At 18 you aren’t thinking about your parents passing away. At 40 it is more of a reality. While a 40 year old and an 18 year old may both be shocked, the 18 year old will probably be more shocked because losing their parents wouldn’t be on their radar.
People are different. We have all heard the saying about no 2 snowflakes are the same. No 2 humans are either. We have our own autonomy. Each experience we have is unique. While we may empathize with others, we cannot know exactly how another person feels. Therefore, we can’t say whether another person is grieving properly or not. While someone may want the grief process to be over, it is over when it is over. And there may be aftershocks of it. And that is ok.
There are typically 7 stages of grief according to this website: http://www.recover-from-grief.com/7-stages-of-grief.html.
- SHOCK & DENIAL
- PAIN & GUILT
- ANGER & BARGAINING
- “DEPRESSION“, REFLECTION, LONELINESS
- THE UPWARD TURN
- RECONSTRUCTION & WORKING THROUGH
- ACCEPTANCE & HOPE
While that is the typical order, not everyone experiences it that way. I have gone from the upward turn to pain and guilt like a car goes from 0-60. A person can be all over the place in the stages before it is over. What can you do to help? Be supportive. Don’t tell them when they should be done with grieving. They already feel bad enough without someone adding to it and making them feel worse. Listen. Care. That’s all that can be done with any success. Trying to force a person through the steps will only make them turn inward and isolate rather than work through the steps and finally feel better.