You may have heard that grief occurs in stages. Old research suggested that patients and loved ones moved through five stages as they came to terms with terminal illness: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. In real life, grief is not so simple. People rarely progress through these stages in an orderly way. Instead, we move through them randomly. Some people move quickly through grief; others move slowly. Some repeat stages or go back and forth between them. No matter how you grieve, it is important to become aware of the normal aspects of grief.
Knowledge of this process gives us a very generalized map of the terrain we have to cover. Each of us will take a different route. Each will choose his or her own landmarks and will travel through emotional pain at his or her own speed using the unique tools provided by culture, experience, and faith.