Understanding Grief and Accepting It

What is critical about getting through a battle or struggle, is to accept it. It is normal to feel shock when you or your loved one is diagnosed, is about to be diagnosed or is in the process of going through therapy. Understanding that there are stages to grief that we ALL go through will help you along your journey and those around you a little easier. I’m not saying that reading and understanding this will take all of your pain and worry away, but when you learn more about YOU, your day becomes just a little more clear and putting that one foot down in front of the other is just a little less heavy.

You may have heard about the 5 stages of grief- Learning about these stages as I first began my journey battling Breast Cancer helped me feel more in control of what I couldn’t control; My emotions

5 Stages of Grief

  • Denial, numbness, and shock: Numbness is a normal reaction and should never be confused with “not caring.” This stage of grief helps protect the individual from experiencing the intensity of the loss or grief. It can actually be useful when the grieving person has to take some action such as planning a funeral, notifying relatives, or reviewing important papers. As the individual moves through the experience and slowly acknowledges its impact, the initial denial and disbelief will diminish.
  • Bargaining: This stage of grief may be marked by persistent thoughts about what “could have been done” to prevent the death or loss. Some people become obsessed with thinking about specific ways things could have been done differently to save the person’s life or prevent the loss. If this stage of grief is not dealt with and resolved, the individual may live with intense feelings of guilt or anger that can interfere with the healing process.
  • Depression: In this stage of grief, people begin to realize and feel the true extent of the death or loss. Common signs of depression in this stage include difficulty sleeping, poor appetite, fatigue, lack of energy, and crying spells. The individual may also experience self-pity and feel lonely, isolated, empty, lost, and anxious.
  • Anger: This stage of grief is common. It usually occurs when an individual feels helpless and powerless. Anger can stem from a feeling of abandonment because of a death or loss. Sometimes the individual is angry at a higher power, at the doctors who cared for the loved one, or toward life in general.
  • Acceptance: In time, an individual can move into this stage of grief and come to terms with all the emotions and feelings that were experienced when the death or loss occurred. Healing can begin once the loss becomes integrated into the individual’s set of life experiences.

Throughout a person’s lifetime, he or she may return to some of the earlier stages of grief, such as depression or anger. Because there are no rules or time limit to the grieving process, each individual’s healing process will be different.

 ”Because there are no rules or time limit to the grieving process, each individual’s healing process will be different.”


(5 steps of Grief cited from webmd.com)

Now that you know what to expect, learn about what stage you are going through right now. It does not have to go in order as it is listed above….but now that you are learning more about you…OWN IT. Accept it!

 ”Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is youer than you.” Dr. Seuss

3 Responses to “Understanding Grief and Accepting It”

  1. Jennifer says:

    What you wrote was awesome and has been my life the last year. My husband was diagnosed last December with Stage 2B Esophageal cancer. We have gone through the journey to acceptance and not all of it was fun and roses. We are blessed that we made it to acceptance together because some marriages suffer with the journey. He was just reDiagnosed in September with scans showing that it has spread to other areas which makes his cancer now terminal. He was given 4-6 months. I thank God daily for seeing us through to acceptance or the place we are in now would be unbearable.

  2. MOM says:

    Yes, this is spot on. I would like to accentuate that loved ones of the diagnosed most definitely go through all of these stages…
    Hopefully, we will recognize them for what they are …..’stages’, and not scare us into thinking we will never get over this.
    You once told me, Alyssa, that I am considered a survivor too (being your mom and one of your caretakers) and at that time I felt I had no right to that title.
    Now I know that yes, I am a survivor as well.
    as you say… I OWN IT.

  3. Rachel says:

    Thank you soo much for posting this. My mom lost her 8 year breast cancer battle on 10/31/13 and we just had her memorial service this past weekend and this is a loose that it just hurting so bad. She was only 63 years old.

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