1. SHOCK & DENIAL-
You will probably react to learning of the loss with numbed disbelief. You may deny the reality of the loss at some level, in order to avoid the pain. Shock provides emotional protection from being overwhelmed all at once. This may last for weeks.
2. PAIN & GUILT- As the shock wears off, it is replaced with the suffering of unbelievable pain. Although excruciating and almost unbearable, it is important that you experience the pain fully, and not hide it, avoid it or escape from it with alcohol or drugs.
Relentless tears marked these days, punctuated with what I call my "never" statements: "I'll never do this again, or that again." While there are somethings I will probably never do again. I've learned I can relearn to do many things again, albeit, differently from before and I also can learn to do and enjoy new things I never did before because they weren't of primary interest to me.
3. ANGER & BARGAINING- Frustration gives way to anger, and you may lash out and lay unwarranted blame for the death/loss on someone else. Please try to control this, as permanent damage to your relationships may result. This is a time for the release of bottled up emotion.You may rail against fate, questioning "Why me?" You may also try to bargain in vain with the powers that be for a way out of your despair ("I will never drink again if you just bring him/function back")
During this stage I inflicted damage to the walls and door jams of our house by slamming the wheelchair back and forth, especially when I got stuck while navigating around corners and hallways. These fits of rage were always followed by a torrent of angry tears and pathetic wailing grief. I screamed the questions, "Why me?" This is not fair! I did all the right things, ate right was the strongest and most fit I'd ever been in my life! Why not someone else who smokes and is over weight and out of shape?" These fits were very difficult for Pete to witness for he was powerless to do anything to alleviate my despair. Finally, he said while I resumed destroying the walls. "You can keep doing this but it will change nothing. When you're finished you'll be right back here with the same problems And you'll feel guilty when you see the damage you're doing to the walls. " He was right and gradually the frequency of these fits lessened as I began to move on.
4. "DEPRESSION", REFLECTION, LONELINESS- Just when your friends may think you should be getting on with your life, a long period of sad reflection will likely overtake you. This is a normal stage of grief, so do not be "talked out of it" by well-meaning outsiders. Encouragement from others is not helpful to you during this stage of grieving.During this time, you finally realize the true magnitude of your loss, and it depresses you. You may isolate yourself on purpose, reflect on things you did before your loss, and focus on memories of the past. You may sense feelings of emptiness or despair.