Independent Family Funeral Directors

The Stages of Grief after the Loss of a Loved One

Grief comes in stages, and there are often five that most people will recognise. We’re outlining some of them so you can understand the emotions attached to the loss of a loved one.


This comes at the start, when you first hear of a loss. You might not believe it’s happening, feel numb, or just in a state of total shock. This is often temporary and is a response to the news and is a defence mechanism while your mind and body tries to cope during this difficult time.


As you come to terms with the loss, you may find that you start to feel pain, frustrated, helpless, and angry. You can be angry at anyone and anything, you might find it’s directed at someone, or everyone, a belief system, or even the person who’s died and left you.


At this point you might be focusing a lot on how things could have been different. You might become consumed with thoughts of how your actions could have changed things, and be full of ‘What if’s’ and ‘If only’s’. Some people might turn to their religion or belief systems in an attempt to strike a deal with a higher power.


Sadness is a normal part of the grief process and can last for a while. The sadness begins as the effect of losing a loved one in your life becomes clear. These symptoms might be crying, sleep struggles, and not wanting to eat. At this point you may feel very alone, and the loss and sadness may become overwhelming. You might also feel a sense of regret.


This is the final stage of the grief process, where you come to terms with the loss. It’s the point you realise that the loss can’t be changed. The sadness might still be with you, but you should at this point be able to see the future and begin moving forward.

You may find you don’t experience all the stages, or that you find you progress, just to regress. Many things can act as a trigger to your grief, such as anniversaries, places, things, songs, and people around you.

Everyone grieves differently, but it’s important to try and have a support network around you while you do. The type of loss can be a factor into how long you grieve too, a sudden loss can sometimes take longer to understand, but your sadness will ease. It’s important to remember that joy, happiness, and daily life will return one day, even if you can’t see it now. Things will get better with time, hold on.


Little by little, we let go of loss, but never of love

What is Grief?

Grief is our natural response to the loss of a loved one, accentuated by the bond we shared with them. The way we grieve can be multifaceted—it’s not always just an emotional response to loss, it can often by physical, cognitive, behavioural, social, spiritual, and philosophical. You might be considering whether you need to seek support for your grieving process, or what you can do to look after your wellbeing at this time. Read more about support to help you through grief, here