In the world of grief recovery, a commonly held idea is that a mourner moves through grief in a prescribed set of stages starting with denial and isolation, moving to anger, on to bargaining, then to depression and finally to acceptance. These emotional stages and reactions to grief were studied and identified by Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross. Later research revealed that there is no particular order in which these emotions are experienced. In reality, some mourners do not experience all of the emotions; others experience all the emotions, but in different orders. It is even possible to cycle back and re-experience earlier occurring emotions in the grief journey.
A mourner may think that she/he has completely handled one of the grief emotions such as anger or depression, only to find that something triggers memories that bring back the once experienced emotion. Usually when this occurs, the impact and length of experiencing the grief emotion is diminished. Anyone going through this experience needs to understand that it is quite normal and to be expected. It is part of the healing journey that brings one back into the fullness of life.BACK TO LIST