Stages of Grief

It’s a natural desire to want to provide comfort and support to children who are experiencing grief. By understanding the way that grief is manifested, and the “stages of grief” of those who have lost a loved one, we can be even more effective in helping them handle this challenging time.

The Emotional Impact of Grief:

  • Shock

  • Numbness

  • Anger

  • Fear

  • Anxiety

  • Guilt

  • Shame

  • Pain

Behavioral Changes that are signs of Grief:

  • Avoiding the subject of death

  • Poor concentration and memory

  • Intrusive thoughts

  • Difficulty sleeping

  • Hyper-vigilence

  • Guilt

  • Shame

  • Pain

Healing Considerations for Those Who are Grieving:

Those grieving the loss of a loved one should be encouraged to express their emotions and provided with an opportunity to confide in trusted individuals. Give them a chance to tell the story of their loss. Also, many of these individuals can benefit from the help of a counselor or faith leader. Frequently, discuss or support groups that focus on grief and unexpected loss allow participants to know that they are not alone in experiencing their feelings.

Individuals who are grieving each process these emotions at their own pace, so those seeking to provide help and support should keep this in mind. Let them know what resources are available to them and offer to help them get involved when the time is right.

Often, those grieving a loss can benefit from journaling or writing a letter to the person who has passed away. Those grieving might also carry an object linked to the person they have lost. They might also create a “memory area” in their home, dedicated to the lost loved one.

Those who are grieving should also be encouraged to take care of their health, by getting enough rest and exercise, and by eating nutritious meals. They should be encouraged to develop nighttime rituals that help them get sufficient sleep, and they can often benefit from time alone and in meditation.

Also, those who are grieving can benefit by engaging in activities that help other and directing their thoughts and intentions outward. This allows them to step outside their own pain from time to time and find comfort through helping others in need.

Most importantly, it is important to remember that there is “recommended” period of time for grieving. Each person processes this emotion in their own way.

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