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There are many different theories about grief, but one of the most familiar models is the Kubler-Ross model, also known as the five stages of grief. Every person doesn’t follow the same path when they’re grieving, and the stages are not necessarily in any particular order, but familiarizing yourself with this theory about grief may help you to understand what you’re experiencing and make it easier to work through it. The five stages are:

  • Denial: In this stage, a person reacts to the overwhelming nature of grief by pretending the loss or change isn’t happening. It’s a common defense mechanism because it gives your mind time to process what is happening. You essentially go numb, and this protects you for a time, but as you come out of the denial stage you may experience overwhelming sadness.
  • Anger: A person in this stage looks for someone to blame. It’s not rational, but it’s a way to protect ourselves from being too vulnerable. Some people skip this stage, while others linger in it, and it may look more like bitterness than rage.
  • Bargaining: By trying to negotiate your way out of grief, you give yourself false hope. Some people bargain with God, making promises of how they’ll behave if only this terrible thing is prevented. Others focus on guilt and “what if” statements, as a way to feel like they have some level of control over the situation.
  • Depression: Of all the stages of grief, this one is probably the most expected and understandable. Sadness accompanies the news of loss, and it’s compounded by worry over what the future holds. This can lead to feelings of being overwhelmed and wanting to self-isolate, and it some cases it even results in suicidal ideations. A person who feels stuck in guilt should seek support.
  • Acceptance: This stage brings a level of resolution but does not mean the person has moved on from grief. Accepting what’s happened can help restore a sense of normalcy and stabilize emotions, allowing the healing process to begin.

There’s also a theory that proposes seven stages of grief, those being:

  • Shock and denial.
  • Pain and guilt.
  • Anger and bargaining.
  • Depression.
  • The upward turn.
  • Reconstruction and working through.

Wherever you are in the grieving process, we want to help you find peace. The Catholic Cemeteries of the Diocese of San Jose is committed to providing a sacred place, where you and your family can remember loved ones in a peaceful and hope-filled setting. If you have questions, we’re happy to answer them. We have three locations: Calvary Catholic Cemetery in San Jose, Gate of Heaven Cemetery in Los Altos, and St. John the Baptist Cemetery in Milpitas. For more information, contact us through our website, or call Calvary at 833-428-0379, Gate of Heaven at 833-304-0763, or St. John the Baptist at 833-428-0379.

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