Last night around after midnight, the wife of my mum’s brother crossed over or passed away after 3 years of suffering from cancer. I lit a candle and said The Crossover Prayer for her and her family.
“The highest tribute to the dead is not grief but gratitude.”
~ Thornton Wilder
Here are some of the best articles on Grief.
from Harvard Business Review
That Discomfort You’re Feeling Is Grief
March 23, 2020
Summary. During the global pandemic, a palpable sense of collective grief has emerged. Grief expert David Kessler says that grief is actually multiple feelings that we must manage. In an interview with HBR, he explains how the classic five stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, sadness, acceptance) apply today, and the practical steps we can take to manage the anxiety. Those include balancing bad thoughts with good; focusing on the present; letting go of things you can’t control; and stocking up on compassion. Kessler also talks about a sixth stage of grief: meaning. After acceptance, he says, we will find meaning in the hard-to-fathom events and we will be stronger for it.
Some of the HBR edit staff met virtually the other day — a screen full of faces in a scene becoming more common everywhere. We talked about the content we’re commissioning in this harrowing time of a pandemic and how we can help people. But we also talked about how we were feeling. One colleague mentioned that what she felt was grief. Heads nodded in all the panes.
If we can name it, perhaps we can manage it. We turned to David Kessler for ideas on how to do that. Kessler is the world’s foremost expert on grief. He co-wrote with Elisabeth Kübler-Ross On Grief and Grieving: Finding the Meaning of Grief through the Five Stages of Loss. His new book adds another stage to the process, Finding Meaning: The Sixth Stage of Grief. Kessler also has worked for a decade in a three-hospital system in Los Angeles. He served on their biohazards team. His volunteer work includes being an LAPD Specialist Reserve for traumatic events as well as having served on the Red Cross’s disaster services team. He is the founder of www.grief.com, which has over 5 million visits yearly from 167 countries.
Kessler shared his thoughts on why it’s important to acknowledge the grief you may be feeling, how to manage it, and how he believes we will find meaning in it. The conversation is lightly edited for clarity.
HBR: People are feeling any number of things right now. Is it right to call some of what they’re feeling grief?
Kessler: Yes, and we’re feeling a number of different griefs. We feel the world has changed, and it has. We know this is temporary, but it doesn’t feel that way, and we realize things will be different. Just as going to the airport is forever different from how it was before 9/11, things will change and this is the point at which they changed. The loss of normalcy; the fear of economic toll; the loss of connection. This is hitting us and we’re grieving. Collectively. We are not used to this kind of collective grief in the air.
You said we’re feeling more than one kind of grief?
Yes, we’re also feeling anticipatory grief. Anticipatory grief is that feeling we get about what the future holds when we’re uncertain. Usually it centers on death. We feel it when someone gets a dire diagnosis or when we have the normal thought that we’ll lose a parent someday. Anticipatory grief is also more broadly imagined futures. There is a storm coming. There’s something bad out there. With a virus, this kind of grief is so confusing for people. Our primitive mind knows something bad is happening, but you can’t see it. This breaks our sense of safety. We’re feeling that loss of safety. I don’t think we’ve collectively lost our sense of general safety like this. Individually or as smaller groups, people have felt this. But all together, this is new. We are grieving on a micro and a macro level.
What can individuals do to manage all this grief?
Understanding the stages of grief is a start. But whenever I talk about the stages of grief, I have to remind people that the stages aren’t linear and may not happen in this order. It’s not a map but it provides some scaffolding for this unknown world. There’s denial, which we say a lot of early on: This virus won’t affect us. There’s anger: You’re making me stay home and taking away my activities. There’s bargaining: Okay, if I social distance for two weeks everything will be better, right? There’s sadness: I don’t know when this will end. And finally there’s acceptance. This is happening; I have to figure out how to proceed.
Acceptance, as you might imagine, is where the power lies. We find control in acceptance. I can wash my hands. I can keep a safe distance. I can learn how to work virtually.
When we’re feeling grief there’s that physical pain. And the racing mind. Are there techniques to deal with that to make it less intense?
Let’s go back to anticipatory grief. Unhealthy anticipatory grief is really anxiety, and that’s the feeling you’re talking about. Our mind begins to show us images. My parents getting sick. We see the worst scenarios. That’s our minds being protective. Our goal is not to ignore those images or to try to make them go away — your mind won’t let you do that and it can be painful to try and force it. The goal is to find balance in the things you’re thinking. If you feel the worst image taking shape, make yourself think of the best image. We all get a little sick and the world continues. Not everyone I love dies. Maybe no one does because we’re all taking the right steps. Neither scenario should be ignored but neither should dominate either.
Anticipatory grief is the mind going to the future and imagining the worst. To calm yourself, you want to come into the present. This will be familiar advice to anyone who has meditated or practiced mindfulness but people are always surprised at how prosaic this can be. You can name five things in the room. There’s a computer, a chair, a picture of the dog, an old rug, and a coffee mug. It’s that simple. Breathe. Realize that in the present moment, nothing you’ve anticipated has happened. In this moment, you’re okay. You have food. You are not sick. Use your senses and think about what they feel. The desk is hard. The blanket is soft. I can feel the breath coming into my nose. This really will work to dampen some of that pain.
You can also think about how to let go of what you can’t control. What your neighbor is doing is out of your control. What is in your control is staying six feet away from them and washing your hands. Focus on that.
Finally, it’s a good time to stock up on compassion. Everyone will have different levels of fear and grief and it manifests in different ways. A coworker got very snippy with me the other day and I thought, That’s not like this person; that’s how they’re dealing with this. I’m seeing their fear and anxiety. So be patient. Think about who someone usually is and not who they seem to be in this moment.
One particularly troubling aspect of this pandemic is the open-endedness of it.
This is a temporary state. It helps to say it. I worked for 10 years in the hospital system. I’ve been trained for situations like this. I’ve also studied the 1918 flu pandemic. The precautions we’re taking are the right ones. History tells us that. This is survivable. We will survive. This is a time to overprotect but not overreact.
And, I believe we will find meaning in it. I’ve been honored that Elisabeth Kübler-Ross’s family has given me permission to add a sixth stage to grief: Meaning. I had talked to Elisabeth quite a bit about what came after acceptance. I did not want to stop at acceptance when I experienced some personal grief. I wanted meaning in those darkest hours. And I do believe we find light in those times. Even now people are realizing they can connect through technology. They are not as remote as they thought. They are realizing they can use their phones for long conversations. They’re appreciating walks. I believe we will continue to find meaning now and when this is over.
What do you say to someone who’s read all this and is still feeling overwhelmed with grief?
Keep trying. There is something powerful about naming this as grief. It helps us feel what’s inside of us. So many have told me in the past week, “I’m telling my coworkers I’m having a hard time,” or “I cried last night.” When you name it, you feel it and it moves through you. Emotions need motion. It’s important we acknowledge what we go through. One unfortunate byproduct of the self-help movement is we’re the first generation to have feelings about our feelings. We tell ourselves things like, I feel sad, but I shouldn’t feel that; other people have it worse. We can — we should — stop at the first feeling. I feel sad. Let me go for five minutes to feel sad. Your work is to feel your sadness and fear and anger whether or not someone else is feeling something. Fighting it doesn’t help because your body is producing the feeling. If we allow the feelings to happen, they’ll happen in an orderly way, and it empowers us. Then we’re not victims.
In an orderly way?
Yes. Sometimes we try not to feel what we’re feeling because we have this image of a “gang of feelings.” If I feel sad and let that in, it’ll never go away. The gang of bad feelings will overrun me. The truth is a feeling that moves through us. We feel it and it goes and then we go to the next feeling. There’s no gang out to get us. It’s absurd to think we shouldn’t feel grief right now. Let yourself feel the grief and keep going.
The Serials Liberian
From the Printed Page to the Digital Age
Losing Staff: The Seven Stages of Loss and Recovery
By Elena Romaniuk
Pages 241-247 | Published online: 02 May 2014
The loss of co-workers due to retirement has a profound impact on the people who are left to carry on with the work of the unit. The process of recovery from the loss of experienced and long-serving support staff members is analogous to the stages of grief that a person experiences after the death of a loved one. This article describes how the Serials Services unit at the University of Victoria Libraries is coping with the consequences of the retirement of its two most experienced library assistants and discusses the steps taken in order to continue to provide quality service to users.
In the fall of 2012, as I was contemplating the impending retirement of my most senior library assistant, I came across a website describing the seven stages of grief that follow the death of a loved one. It occurred to me at the time that those of us, who were left still working in the unit, were going through very similar stages of adaptation to the loss of our co-workers.
The Serials Services unit at the University of Victoria Libraries is responsible for the bibliographic control, as well as check-in and processing, of serials in all formats. The acquisition/claiming and binding functions are centralized in the Acquisitions and Cataloguing units, respectively. Before our two most recent retirements, the Serials Services unit consisted of six people: one librarian, two library assistants who were catalogers and three support staff members responsible primarily for check-in and processing.
In the early 1980s, four librarians in the Serials Division were collectively responsible for the overall management of serials, including collection development, bibliographic access, acquisition, claiming and binding. After a major reorganization in 1990, overall bibliographic control as well as the management of the check-in and processing functions of serials became the responsibility of one librarian only. Given that librarian’s steadily increasing workload, over the years many responsibilities were delegated to two senior library assistants whose primary job responsibility had been copy cataloging. The people in these positions gradually took over original cataloging, classification, training, supervision, project management, and problem solving. They also developed and wrote procedures, provided input into policy decisions, assisted with e-journal management and problem solving, and also managed the unit in the librarian’s absence. The crunch came in 2012 when the senior support staff people in these two key positions announced their intention to retire at a time when, for the first time in the library’s history, employees were being laid off due to budget cuts.
It was while I was contemplating my options for dealing with the loss of my most senior and most experienced people that I came across the “7 Stages of Grief” website and was struck by the similarities between the process of adaptation to the loss of a loved one and the process of adaptation to the loss of highly experienced and valuable employees.The seven stages of grief described in the article consist of shock and denial, pain and guilt, anger and bargaining, depression, reflection and loneliness, upward turn, reconstruction and working-through, and, finally, acceptance and hope. I decided to examine these similarities in more detail and analyze the degree to which we were going through an analogous process.
In the first stage of the process of dealing with loss, it is not unusual to react with numbed disbelief. I certainly did, particularly when my second-in-command told me that she and her husband were planning to leave Vancouver Island and move to mainland British Columbia. I was shocked. We are about the same age and I confess that I had always expected that we would retire together, especially since she and her husband had recently built their dream home in a desirable Victoria location. The shock was compounded by the fact that our most senior cataloger had already given her notice of retirement and it seemed very likely that my two most experienced people could potentially be leaving at the same time.
In the second stage of the grieving process, a person will experience pain and guilt. For those of us who were left behind, the departure of our colleagues was painful; we were losing people with whom we had worked for decades and who had become our friends. In addition, we experienced the loss not only of their combined experience, knowledge and institutional memory but their productivity as well. Their departure would have a marked impact on our workloads. I also felt a certain amount of guilt because, given their ability to work independently and my own heavy workload, I had given up hands-on cataloging and allowed my knowledge of the minutiae to lapse.
In the third stage of adaptation to loss, a person may experience anger. At this particular stage of the adaptation process, ours was not the typical response. We could not be angry with our friends for wanting to retire, so we planned parties, collected money for gifts, and ultimately gave each of them a nice send-off.
In the fourth stage, one can typically struggle with depression, reflection, and loneliness. At this point, I decided to focus on reflection. Over a period of time, I pondered several questions: How has our work changed? What do we need to do? What are our options? How do we help ourselves?
Starting with the first question: “How has the work changed?,” I already knew that in the last decade at least, the serials universe, and as a consequence, serials-related work, has become much more complex. At the University of Victoria, we are providing access to over 100,000 electronic journals, from multiple providers, using multiple links, in multiple formats and described in multiple records. We maintain multiple sources of linked information, such as the catalog and the knowledgebase, both interacting with the discovery layer and the link resolver. We troubleshoot numerous problems generated by users via the systems mentioned above and we also regularly answer questions that arrive the old-fashioned ways, by telephone or e-mail.
We subscribe to fewer titles, though still in a variety of physical formats, so we have less check-in and processing to do. We have backlogs of large donations of print serials to catalog for Special Collections and we also have large-scale database clean-up projects to do when time and staffing resources permit.
Our library assistants now have much more complex and diverse responsibilities. In addition to cataloging, check-in and processing, they are expected to work with the knowledgebase that is at the core of our discovery layer and link resolver. As we continue to move from a single-record to a two-record approach in providing access to electronic resources, the print records containing links to online holdings will need to be cleaned up, that is, have the Uniform Resource Locators (URLs) and associated notes and added entries removed. Also, given that we now subscribe to a machine-readable cataloging (MARC) records service, any duplicate records for in-house cataloged electronic serials will need to be either deleted or suppressed depending on whether or not a purchase order is attached. But before we can clean up a record for a particular title, we must make sure that the title is activated in all of the appropriate collections in the knowledgebase. The people who will be doing the record cleanup need to know how serials are cataloged in order to revise records appropriately.
Tasks such as weeding and the associated deletion of records, which used to be described and handled with relatively simple procedures, now require more complex processes. In order to make space in a library that has always been short of it, we have made the decision to withdraw the print version duplicates of our online titles that have perpetual electronic access. Before we can weed these titles, we have to make sure that we in fact do have access to the online holdings for which we have paid. Before we can weed, we also have to make sure that our MARC record service has provided records for all of the relevant changes of title, and that access to the electronic holdings is available. Given increased complexity in the work and specialized knowledge and experience required to get it done, there is now less low-level work and a lot more high-level work available for our library assistants.
What do we need? We still need to get the work done and we need people to do it. I considered asking to have the one vacant position advertised and filled but, apart from the fact that my request was not likely to be granted given upcoming 4% budget cuts, I quickly came to the realization that having one position filled at the level appropriate to the demands of the work would not provide us with enough help. What we needed were several positions that can function at a high level.
What are our options? Upon continued reflection, only one option presented itself. The people best suited to taking on serials cataloging and problem solving were the same people who already had serials experience and were currently working in the Serials Services unit doing check-in and processing. These people already had the most important prerequisites for the job: extensive experience and proven ability to work with serials, good knowledge of the materials, and excellent judgment and problem-solving skills. They already had some experience creating and revising MARC records and they also had experience with holdings records and maintenance. They were also capable; if willing, they would be the best people to be trained to take on higher-level work.
How do we help ourselves? Given the conclusion that I came to in contemplating our options, the next step was to discuss the matter with the staff members and my supervisor. I needed to find out whether the senior people who were leaving would support this course of action, because I needed them on board to help with the training. I also needed to talk to the people who would be asked to take on higher-level work because I could not go ahead without their agreement and willingness. I did not need all of them to agree, but I was hoping that at least two out of three would be willing to take on the challenge. Finally, I needed my supervisors’ support, because there would eventually be costs associated with two or three library assistants taking on new responsibilities.
Once I had talked to them, people needed time to think about the plan and its implications but, in the end, everyone agreed to go ahead. First, we rewrote job descriptions and filled out job evaluation questionnaires. One of the three support staff members taking on new responsibilities was our government publications assistant. She had already had approximately one year of serials’ cataloging experience, so her job description and job evaluation document were written separately. The plan was to make the three remaining support staff positions exactly the same so that they would share all responsibilities equally and could back each other up on any task. The solution to losing two high-level staff members was to train the three remaining staff members to work at the highest level possible. They would primarily catalog and problem-solve, but would also still share the check-in and the processing work, with each person having to do a smaller portion of the lower-level work than before.
The major responsibilities, added to the job descriptions and job evaluation documents of each person taking on new duties, were cataloging and classification of serials, follow-up on problems generated by our various discovery tools, knowledgebase maintenance, drafting and documentation of procedures, and providing assistance with project management and staff training. Cataloging-related responsibilities were to be carried out 50% of the time and the rest of the work would be handled the other 50% of the time. We also grouped a number of lower-level work responsibilities into several clusters to be rotated on a monthly basis.
In the fifth stage of recovery from loss, one begins to experience an upward turn. Once the decision was made to go ahead with our succession plan, we began one-on-one cataloging training. Over the course of several months, we scheduled several sessions a week of one-on-one hands-on cataloging instruction. We also scheduled three hours a week of group training in which staff members presented problems they needed help with. We reviewed policies, discussed cataloging concepts and together came up with the solutions to the problems presented. We used a training room that had access to the cataloging database; the room had Internet access so that we could consult various online resources. We found this approach to be efficient and useful and the staff appreciated each other’s input on solving problems, discussing policies or revising procedures.
In order to make myself available to the staff on a regular basis for problem-solving assistance, I also booked daily meetings into my calendar for the same time every day. Though I occasionally have a conflict, these scheduled meetings provide a set time at which I am available to the staff for consultation. The meetings are scheduled into all of our Outlook calendars, and on a day that a person definitely needs my assistance, she accepts the meeting to alert me that she needs assistance.
In the upward turn phase of the process, we also worked on documenting and testing new procedures as well as revising existing ones. For example, we needed to document the workflows for the cataloging of new and changed titles, and for the creation of new order records for changed titles. Because our senior people had not departed yet and were writing the procedures, the rest of the staff had a chance to test the procedures and provide feedback if necessary. All procedure-related documents are posted in a shared hard drive so that everyone has access to them.
Adaptation to the loss of our senior library assistants did not necessarily follow linearly from one phase to the next. The various stages and the demarcations between them were not obvious to us at the time. The reconstruction and the working-through stages probably overlapped with the upward turn. I began to feel positive about the changes we were making, once I had approval from my supervisor to go ahead with rewriting job descriptions and training, but I became even more optimistic about our ability to cope with future demands on the unit when we started hands-on training in April 2012 and cataloging resumed in the hands of our trainees.
It has been an ongoing and lengthy learning process for all of us, but we are making progress and our trainees have done a remarkable job of adapting to the new demands placed on them. In this reconstruction and working-through phase, we are constantly clarifying priorities, because it is easy for people to feel overwhelmed while managing multiple demands and conflicting tasks. We set priorities that are manageable and realistic and therefore necessitate the postponement of other work, such as the implementation of Resource Description & Access (RDA), the new cataloging code.
The final stage of the grieving process is reached when one has accepted one’s situation and has hope for the future. For now, we appear to have both acceptance and hope, but in order to ease the anxiety that comes with too much work and not enough time, we have come to terms with the fact that our backlog of partially cataloged serials will grow and that, for now, the work will be done more slowly. We hope that after an initial transition period of learning and doing, we’ll all feel more comfortable with these changes and that we will all be more productive. We also hope that the outcome of the job evaluation process will acknowledge that the additional work that the check-in assistants have taken on is complex, demanding, and specialized and that it will result in a higher pay-band classification for each person with the accompanying monetary compensation.
We are extremely fortunate that each person in our small Serials unit is highly capable, cooperative and willing to learn. Our ability to adapt to such drastic loss was helped by the fact that we had plenty of notice, because the process of readjustment takes time. We had time to get over the initial shock of the news, and then we were able to take the time to evaluate our options. Before both of our senior staff actually departed, we had time to discuss and implement a training plan. We had time to rewrite job descriptions, fill out the job evaluation questionnaire, and to document procedures.
I continue to provide ongoing problem-solving help in group meetings and one-on-one. Staff members also consult each other for assistance. We continue to document new procedures and revise existing ones as the need arises. We are all sensitive to each other’s stress and workload levels. I reassure the staff that it is OK to take the time to figure things out and to spend the time looking up answers to questions. As a group, we discuss and adjust priorities and continue to keep track of them on a whiteboard in a shared, visible area. It is a given that with two fewer staff members, we will not get as much done as we used to and that our statistics will go down. We have had to relegate some projects such as the database cleanup to the back burner, and we have been adding partially cataloged material to our backlog.
There is no question that we are facing major challenges, the most significant being that we have too much work. I am also discovering that I sorely underestimated the amount of time needed for problem-solving and one-on-one consultation. At the same time, we are also dealing with many new simultaneous demands: a large-scale weeding project of serials with electronic access, receipt of several large new special collections print collections for cataloging, and the transfer of law technical services to the main library, with the resulting need to incorporate a new person, a new workload and new routines into our workflows.
We will continue to ponder our situation and to analyze where we most need help. We need to clean up the bibliographic database post-MARC records service loads. We need to train people to work with the data in the knowledgebase that supports our discovery-layer software. We need to provide more in-depth training in the theory and practice of authority work and the ins and outs of the new cataloging code, RDA.
At some point in the future, we will need to evaluate how well we are doing, and very likely, lobby for more staff. In the meantime, however, we will work together as best we can to accomplish as much as we can with the resources available to us.
From Advice Home
The 7 Stages Of Grief: What They Are And How They Affect You
By: Darby Faubion
Updated June 18, 2020
Medically Reviewed By: Karen Devlin, LPC
Grief is an unfortunate experience that everyone encounters at some point in life. It comes in various forms, such as with the death of a loved one, a change in a relationship or life role, or when a serious illness occurs.
Grief is a natural process. That process can sometimes feel overwhelming. Because many people will experience the stages of grief and loss, and unresolved grief can lead to unhealthy behaviors, learning to identify the stages of grief and ways to cope through each is a great way to begin the journey to healing after a loss or significant life change. Everyone grieves differently, and many people try to “put on a brave face” because grieving is a personal experience, but the grieving process typically follows the stages below in some way.
The Stages of Grief
The 5 Stages of Grief model was first introduced by Swiss-American psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross in her 1969 book On Death and Dying. The book was inspired by her work with terminally ill patients.
Through the years, Kübler-Ross’s model for grief has been used to describe not only the way terminally ill patients deal with grief, but to also educate on any loss or change of circumstance. Today, many sources cite 7 or more stages of grief.
It’s important to note that everyone experiences grief in his or her own way and that some people may not experience all of the stages in order. It may be that you experience a few stages and then revisit a previous stage before moving forward. This is normal. Grief is truly a process. Often it feels like a messy, never-ending process. There is hope, though, and understanding some of the stages can be the beginning to understanding that grief is not the end.
How Grief Can Affect You
The symptoms of grief present differently in each individual. They can manifest emotionally, physically, and/or socially.
Bereaved people may cry often, but not be able to express their feelings. Feelings of depression are not uncommon and they may become worse on days that are significant, such as the anniversary of a death or traumatic event or on a holiday. When emotional symptoms are not resolved, anxiety and depression can become a serious issue. If the source of grief is related to a sudden, unexpected event, the individual may also experience post-traumatic-stress disorder. Without proper education and help, those with severe emotional grief symptoms may turn to alcohol and/or substance abuse as a way to cope.
Physical symptoms may include headache, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, or difficulty sleeping. Long term physical symptoms may cause increased health disturbances, such as a compromised immune system or heart disease.
Social symptoms may manifest as a desire to be alone or to seclude oneself from others. Many people find it difficult to focus on day-to-day tasks that were once simple.
Understanding the Seven Stages Of grief
Although most sources list an “order” of grief stages, they may be experienced in different order by different people. Also, some people experience the same stage more than once, depending on individual circumstances. Below is a list of the 7 Stages of Grief and some explanation about what happens during each.
- Shock and denial. This initial stage of grief loss is when feelings of disbelief are most present. If the loss or change was unexpected, such as a tragic accident or unexpected death, it can leave the bereaved feeling numb by the shock of the event. Some people describe this as feeling emotionally paralyzed, as if they know what has happened, but can’t seem to feel the reality of the situation.
- Guilt and pain. As shock from the grief loss begins to subside, those emotions are often replaced with the feeling of suffering, pain and regret. During this time, it is important to allow oneself to experience the pain and not hide it. As difficult as dealing with the pain or remorse is, it is a natural part of healing.
If you know someone who is experiencing this stage of grief, being a present source of comfort and support will be helpful. It is during this time that those who feel unable to handle the guilt and pain often turn to the use of alcohol or other substances to avoid feeling the pain.
- Anger and bargaining. When guilt begins to subside, many people begin to feel angry. During this stage, it is common for the bereaved to lash out at others. For example, if a parent loses a child, she may blame God and question why her child died before she did. Some people even blame the person who died and wonder how he/she could have left them. For the person who lost a job or a home, he may feel anger toward a boss or landlord for not being more considerate or giving him another chance. While this is an expected stage of grief, it’s important to remember that poor behavior could result in damage to other relationships (personal and professional). Therefore, learning to release bottled up emotions in a healthy way is crucial.
When unexpected illness or accidents occur that do not immediately end in loss of life, many people try to “bargain” as a way of getting through the event. For instance, if a loved one has been diagnosed with a terminal illness, a family member may pray and tell God that they will give something in exchange for healing.
- Depression, Reflection and loneliness. After the anger and desperation of bargaining begin to subside, the bereaved begin to reflect on the loss. It is during this time that the weight of the loss begins to take hold and when loneliness and depression begin to surface. When these emotions begin to be felt, many people withdraw from others (social symptoms of grief) and say that they want to deal with things alone. While some alone time is good for everyone, during the process of grief, it is also important to spend some time with others. If you feel grieved, but don’t feel comfortable talking to friends or other loved ones, there are alternate options for healthy support.
- The upward turn. When the feelings of pain, guilt, and anger slowly lift, there seems to be an improvement in well-being. It’s often described as the “upward turn” of emotions. During this time, although the loss is still felt, it is not as difficult to manage the symptoms associated with it. Individuals tend to feel more hopeful about life and begin to find some measure of peace related to the loss.
- Reconstruction and Working Through: As emotions begin to settle and thought processes feel less scattered, it becomes easier to work through feelings, seek solutions for managing grief and life and to begin to set realistic goals for the future. Although this stage is still related to grief, it is associated with rebuilding the life of the bereaved. Life begins to feel less tumultuous, and focus on wellness, both physically and emotionally, can begin.
- Acceptance and hope. It’s important to note that accepting a loss does not mean pretending as though it never occurred. It also does not mean instant happiness. However, it is an opportunity to deal with the reality of what has happened and to learn ways of moving forward.
During this final stage of grief, thinking about the future and planning life with new goals absent the loss you’ve suffered is the focus. Although you may still feel pain or sadness, it becomes less crippling than it was at the beginning of the grief journey. This becomes a time to anticipate happiness again and to find joy in the experience of everyday living.
Ways to Cope with Grief
Experiencing grief loss can feel like a rollercoaster of emotions, at times. Feeling overwhelming despair or loss can make it difficult to deal with day-to-day life. However, there is a hope for healing and a way to regain a sense of normalcy.
While each person deals with grief loss differently, there are some things you can do to help cope with grief in a healthy way.
- Don’t suffer in silence. While grief often causes individuals to feel there is no source for help or that no one understands, that is not true. You don’t have to go through this process alone or keep your feelings bottled up. In fact, doing so may result in complicated grief resolution. Seeking a support system of friends or loved ones who are willing to listen to you and support you through grief will help you as you begin to heal and move on with your life.
- Express yourself. Even if you do have people that you know you can talk to, it may be difficult (especially at first) to do so. If talking to personal friends is uncomfortable, you may find a source of encouragement by joining a grief support group. These groups offer an opportunity to share what you are feeling with others and gives you the chance to encourage others who are experiencing loss with you. Also, journaling is a great way of expressing your feelings, while still maintaining a sense of privacy until you are ready to share with others. It will provide you a way to release your thoughts and emotions and to begin making sense of what has happened that has caused your grief.
- Be intentional about self-care. Although it may not feel like it, there is one person who can provide you unconditional support during a period of grief. That person is YOU. During a period of grief, it is not uncommon for the bereaved to ignore self-care, especially if they are beginning to withdraw from others. Maintaining a healthy balance of rest, nutrition and interaction with others will help relieve some of the difficulty associated with grief. Don’t overwhelm yourself with trying to tackle big projects or by feeling like you need everyone to think you’re okay. You are grieving. Take your time and care for yourself. Take a walk. Read a book. Relax in a bubble bath. Anything that focuses on recharging your body and mind will be helpful as you begin to process life with the reality of loss.
- Establish and maintain a routine. After a significant life change, especially one that is traumatic or unexpected, it is normal to feel anxiety or to feel like nothing is going “normally.” Establishing a routine of common activities will help you stay focused as you try to navigate through grief. Simple things such as going to bed at the same time nightly, eating meals on a regular schedule and spending time meditating can help you achieve a sense of control that will help relieve some of the unsteadiness that is common during the grief process.
- Avoid harmful behaviors. As previously mentioned, during times of stress, those who are unable to process the emotions of the situation may resort to harmful behaviors, such as alcohol or substance abuse. If you feel the need to engage in unhealthy habits or behaviors, try to focus on more positive things. Talk to friends or loved ones and/or engage in some of the self-care activities mentioned above.
- Seek professional help. For many, the idea of seeking professional help feels uncomfortable. However, if you feel overwhelmed by grief or need to learn ways to cope effectively, a mental health professional or counselor could be a critical person to include on your path to healing. The right professional can help you process your emotions related to grief and help you create a plan of action of how you will handle the days, weeks and months to come.
Sources of Help
Many people find comfort and help to process grief by talking to friends, engaging in grief support groups and working with a local mental health provider. In addition to these sources, a growing trend among those needing help and support is using online counseling options, such as that provided by ReGain.
Online therapy is a way of connecting with mental health professionals who are equipped with the knowledge and skills necessary to help facilitate effective healing. It is convenient, as most sessions can be scheduled at the convenience of the client and can be done anywhere there is access to internet. You won’t need to sit in traffic on your way to an appointment, or worry about running into people you know in the waiting room. You can access ReGain from the comfort and privacy of your own home. Below are some reviews of ReGain counselors, from people experiencing similar issues.
Grief is a personal, often complicated, journey. It is something everyone experiences at some point in life. Although the weight of grief can seem overwhelming at times, there is hope for recovery and for achieving happiness again. Self-care, connection with others and the right help when needed, can help healing occur.
Frequently Asked Questions:
What are the 7 stages of grief?
The 7 stages of grief are 1. shock and denial, 2. guilt and pain, 3. anger and bargaining, 4. depression, 5. the upward turn, 6. reconstructing and working through, and 7. acceptance and hope. It is important to note that the stages of grief can also be stages of loss. Stages of loss are what a person goes through when they experience a specific type of grief related to loss (of a loved one, a relationship, a beloved family pet, etc.). Stages of loss is typically used synonymously with stages of grief.
Are there 5 or 7 stages of grief?
In 1969, a Swiss-American psychiatrist named Elisabeth Kübler-Ross published a book titled On Death and Dying. After years of working with terminally ill patients, she categorized grief into 5 stages which include denial anger bargaining depression and acceptance. In modern psychiatry, the 5 stages of grief is not the only model for grief, but it is the basis. Modern models have up to 7 stages of grief which are an expansion of the 5 stages presented by Dr. Kübler-Ross in 1969.
How long do the 5 stages of grief last?
The 5 stages of grief have no specified time limit. The amount of time it takes an individual to progress through the stages is entirely dependent on how they personally handle the grief. One person may experience a full recovery from loss in several weeks, another may not experience recovery for several years. One person may experience a loss and find themselves struggling to move past one of the stages, another may move quickly. Grief is grief, and the speed at which one moves through the stages is a personal and individual experience.
What are the 12 steps of grief? The 12 steps is actually a program related to addiction recovery, not grief loss recovery. However, there have been some attempts on the internet to apply the 12 steps of addiction recovery to grief loss recovery. For example, step 1 of addiction recovery is admitting there is a problem. Applied to grief loss recovery, this would look like a person admitting they are experiencing grief and loss. Step 3 of addiction recovery is to make a decision to change. Applied to grief loss recovery, this would look something like making a decision to seek help in recovery. There is no professional support for applying the 12 steps of addiction recovery to grief loss recovery because the grief loss process is different for every person. Consulting a licensed mental health professional is a far better way to begin recovery.
How does grief affect the body?
Grief loss can have varying physical effects on your body, depending on many different factors. However, there are several very common physical effects people who experience grief report and they are:
- Difficulty sleeping. The stress from grief can take a toll on your body, and the feelings of pain and sadness can keep your mind running instead of shutting down when you are trying to fall asleep. This can lead to poor quality sleep, lack of sleep, or general fatigue despite sleep.
- Unhealthy Habits. Many people who suffer a loss pick up unhealthy coping habits during their grieving process. These habits can be dietary, behavioral, or anything that puts your body in a vulnerable position.
- Aches and Pains. The stress from a loss and the grief process can also cause aches and pains in your body. As your brain is releasing stress hormones because of your grief, these hormones are affecting the way your muscles work, effectively stiffening them and causing stress on your joints. These aches and pains will feel like soreness and cause your body to feel fatigued.
- Digestive System Trouble. Grief can cause a variety of habits to form regarding your diet and digestion. One person can experience a loss of appetite which causes them to refrain from eating for extended periods of time. Another could find comfort in junk food or foods they know their body doesn’t digest well. Anxiety-related to the stress hormones your body is producing can also cause irritable bowel syndrome or nausea. All of these issues can be caused by stress, and if you experience them you may be able to find help from a licensed mental health professional.
- Lowered immune system. Stress hormones also affect your body’s ability to fight off diseases. If you notice yourself getting sick more often, or having a lingering cold, or other symptoms that you can’t seem to shake, it is best to seek the advice of a medical professional.
How long is a healthy mourning period?
Truthfully, grief has no standard period. Oftentimes people don’t find themselves progressing through the stages of grief in a linear, straightforward way. Grief can be chaotic and unpredictable. So give yourself time. Making an appointment with a licensed mental health professional is always a great option if you feel like you’re not seeing any progress with your grief.
What does grief do to your brain?
When you experience a loss, grief causes your brain to develop an abnormal mix of hormones as you process the grief in different parts of your brain (emotionally in one part, physically in another, etc.). Stress hormones typically increase while dopamine (the chemical that levels out your mood and is typically associated with happiness) production struggles to keep up. As a result, you can begin to experience specific symptoms like a change in appetite, loss of healthy sleeping habits, or depressive-like symptoms.
How long does it take to go through the stages of grief?
There is no set period of time when trying to determine how long it will take you to go through the stages of grief. Everyone’s experience with grief is different, so give yourself time and patience. Talking to a licensed mental health professional can help you if you feel stuck.
What is bargaining grief?
One of the five stages of grief is bargaining. Bargaining is what happens inside your mind when you attempt to rationalize whatever experience caused your grief. You may find yourself considering different scenarios of actions you could have taken, words you could have said, or things you could have done differently to prevent the grief. The bargaining stage of grief follows the anger stage fairly quickly in many cases. If your brain fails to rationalize the loss in the bargaining stage, you may experience a move from bargaining to the fourth stage of grief which is depression (this depression can be any of the types of depression such as major depressive disorder, atypical depression, or situational depression. Specific instances can induce specific depression types such as postpartum depression).
Can you die from grief?
While you cannot necessarily die from grief loss directly, grief and loss can cause physical health complications that can result in death such as a compromised immune system, increased risk of heart attack, and stroke. If you or someone you know is experiencing signs of physical complications related to grief loss seek out a medical professional immediately.
Does dying hurt?
Truthfully, doctors don’t know what someone feels when they die. The process of dying can be painful depending on the cause of death, but death itself is difficult if not impossible to research. Some doctors theorize that a person loses consciousness prior to their actual death which would indicate an inability to experience pain.
How do you help people who are grieving?
The internet is full of resources that offer help to people in grief such as different types of grief quiz, grief groups, or contact information for licensed mental health professionals. If your friends or loved ones are going through grief one of the best things you can do is support them and be present with them. Always encourage someone who is struggling to seek professional help.
Ransomware: The 7 Stages Of Grief And How Companies Should Cope
Ransomware stirs up a lot of feelings in its victims — from confusion to dread and
beyond. But it’s important to make sure these feelings don’t get in the way of mitigating
the consequences of cybercrime. To that end, I’ve broken down the seven stages of
ransomware grief, should your company ever fall victim to it:
Ransomware gets a lot of coverage in the media, but few outlets can convey just how
unsettling an attack can be. Opening your laptop and seeing “your computer has been
locked” is startling, to say the least. Once you deem your attempts at logging in or
restarting your computer to be useless, you’ll succumb to the realization that your
The Laboratory of high security (LHS-PEC) of Rennes is a small fortress from where emerge the rst… [+]
personal data is locked, stolen or gone for good – depending on the ransomware variant.
It’s unsettling and surreal, and something you’ll need to come to terms with.
This brings us to denial, which can take place well before a ransomware attack. Many
people reason the chances of falling victim to ransomware are slim, so they don’t prepare
their systems for an attack. This complicates recovery when an infection occurs. The
bottom line is ransomware is a lucrative business for cybercriminals and it’s not likely to
go away. In fact, according to a recent Gartner report, ransomware quadrupled over 2016,
incurring approximately $1 billion in damages. The FBI noted 30 percent of these attacks
included an organization with at least one endpoint compromised by ransomware.
Ignoring and turning a blind eye towards the possibility of a ransomware attack is simply
too risky to do.
Okay, you’ve overcome your denial, but here comes anger. I’m not going to tell you to stop
being irate — your privacy has been violated, your data is being held hostage and your
business is at a standstill — you have the right to feel upset. But don’t let anger cloud your
judgment. Ransomware may derail systems, but it doesn’t have to deter you. Lead by
example and show employees the value in remaining positive during tumultuous IT
situations. Remain calm and stay focused on productivity and giving your IT team the
resources needed to troubleshoot any issues.
There are a few ways to bargain, but only one option is more favorable to you than the
cybercriminal: install real-time backups so you don’t need to pay a ransom. A main point
of contention as of late surrounds whether or not to pay the ransom. Forking over the
money may seem like the quickest way to regain control, but you’re essentially placing
your trust in a known criminal – you aren’t guaranteed to get your money back. According
to a recent report on ransomware, 19 percent of companies that paid the ransom didn’t
ever get their files back.
Not to mention, cybercriminals will also likely continue targeting
your company to extract more money or data. After all, you’ve proven that you have the
funds, a sizable amount of valuable data, and no real protection against the threat.
Instead of paying the ransom, a solid strategy is to bolster email security capabilities that
detect and isolate harmful emails and phishing attempts. Investing in employee education
is another important component. Rather than giving into ransom requests and hoping for
a short-term solution, pursue a long-term, holistic approach with employee training to
help individuals identify and report malicious emails and links.
Don’t play the blame game when ransomware strikes. If employees fear repercussions
from falling victim to a cyber attack, they may be unwilling to alert you or your IT team
when infected with ransomware. Employees should always feel empowered to report any
malicious activity — even when uncertain if an attack has taken place. It’s never a good
idea to blame employees. Instead, encourage employees to speak up about cybersecurity
issues within the company. This enables your IT team to stay informed about all potential
breaches and address issues before they become a problem.
In business, attitude can define certain situations. A positive outlook can launch ideas and
resolve issues while a negative perspective can be a catalyst to more mistakes within a
company. When ransomware occurs, it’s crucial to lead by example and take a solution-oriented approach. The longer ransomware is left alone, the higher potential it has to
spread, wreaking havoc on company networks. Uplift your team and take action—the
sooner you recover and get back up and running, the sooner everyone can feel at ease.
Accept ransomware as a possibility and prepare for it. By doing so, you don’t have to
accept losing valuable business hours to downtime or sensitive data being accessed by
system intruders. Protecting your company against hackers serves as its own type of
refusal—refusal to let ransomware highjack your company.
You can combat ransomware by investing in security services built to prevent or mitigate
it. Real-time backup services are one area worth investing in as they’re more important
than ever. With real-time backup, companies retain control of corporate data and not at
the mercy of anonymous cyber criminals. Furthermore, real-time backup eliminates the
risk of data loss and large downtime to help ensure companies remain functional even
during unexpected conditions.
Ransomware is a process that requires transparent communication between employees
and management along with a dynamic IT approach. The main takeaway is this: uphold
best security practices by educating employees on ransomware, deploying preventative
solutions and taking a proactive approach. No one wants to suffer through these seven
stages of grief, and you shouldn’t have to
POST WRITTEN BY Bojan Dusevic
Bojan Dusevic is Senior Director of Product Management at Intermedia, a cloud business.
The 5 Stages of Business Grief
In her 1969 book On Death and Dying, Elisabeth Kubler-Ross outlines the ve stages of grief
individuals experience when faced with catastrophic personal loss. The ve stages are as follows:
The 5 Stages of Business Grief
In one form or another, businesses too experience these ve stages when faced with crisis or
catastrophe. These 5 stages of business grief are related to loss. For a business, this can be loss of
income, customers or the enterprise as a whole.
While an individual must progress through the grief cycle at their own pace, it’s important for
businesses to arrive at the nal stage of acceptance as soon as possible so that corrective action
can be taken before things get too far out of hand. The following is an illustration of how each of
the 5 stages of business grief might play out in a company.
Stage 1 – Denial
The rst stage of business grief is denial. The business owner may try to shut out reality or create
an alternate reality that is preferable. They may also try to convince themselves that the situation
is just temporary or that the crisis won’t affect them or their industry. Some may even hire
consultants to validate the status quo rather than deal with the problem.
Stage 2 – Anger
The delayed reaction caused by denial gives rise to feelings of anger. At this stage of business
grief, the business owner may start to play the blame game. Why are greedy suppliers ooding the
market and driving down prices? Also, why are my customers so disloyal and squeezing me on my
pricing? Why can’t my people just do their jobs right? Eventually, some owners may turn the blame
inward and chastise themselves for not seeing the crisis coming.
Stage 3 – Bargaining/Rationalization
At this stage of business grief, business owners will often reach out to third parties to weather the
storm. Some will ask vendors to extend payment terms. Some will negotiate with bankers for
cushion on debt covenants or to extend lines of credit. Many daydream about the big contract
they’re about to win that will turn things around.
Stage 4 – Depression/Despair
Oftentimes, bargaining during a crisis doesn’t solve the problem. Vendors are often over-extended
to their suppliers, banks are having to tighten up on controls and customers are hesitant to take on
new projects due to uncertainty. When the reality of the situation dawns, owners may fall into
despair. After all, what’s the point in soldiering on if the underlying cause is out of your control?
Stage 5 – Acceptance
Most business owners are made of pretty sturdy stuff and will not allow themselves to wallow in
self-pity for long. Consequently, they will make peace with the threat and begin to develop a
strategy to deal with it. How? By focusing on what’s working and eliminating what isn’t. Transfer
resources to more protable products and eliminate those products that kill margins. Hug their
best customers and re the problem ones. Unleash the creativity in their best employees and
purging the ranks of bad hires.
Crisis and catastrophe are inevitable in a business. The key is to recognize the crisis and resolve
the 5 stages of business grief quickly to get back on track.
On Grief And Grieving
Five Stages of Grief
The Stages of Grief
Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance.
The stages have evolved since their introduction and they
have been very misunderstood over the past three
decades. They were never meant to help tuck messy
emotions into neat packages. They are responses to loss
that many people have, but there is not a typical response
to loss as there is no typical loss. Our grief is as individual
as our lives.
The five stages, denial, anger, bargaining, depression and
acceptance are a part of the framework that makes up our
learning to live with the one we lost. They are tools to help
us frame and identify what we may be feeling. But they are
not stops on some linear timeline in grief. Not everyone
goes through all of them or in a prescribed order. Our hope
is that with these stages comes the knowledge of grief ’s
terrain, making us better equipped to cope with life and
This first stage of grieving helps us to survive the loss. In
this stage, the world becomes meaningless and
overwhelming. Life makes no sense. We are in a state of
shock and denial. We go numb. We wonder how we can go
on, if we can go on, why we should go on. We try to find a
way to simply get through each day. Denial and shock help
us to cope and make survival possible. Denial helps us to
pace our feelings of grief. There is a grace in denial. It is
nature’s way of letting in only as much as we can handle.
As you accept the reality of the loss and start to ask
yourself questions, you are unknowingly beginning the
healing process. You are becoming stronger, and the denial
is beginning to fade. But as you proceed, all the feelings
you were denying begin to surface.
Anger is a necessary stage of the healing process. Be
willing to feel your anger, even though it may seem endless.
The more you truly feel it, the more it will begin to dissipate
and the more you will heal. There are many other emotions
under the anger and you will get to them in time, but anger
is the emotion we are most used to managing. The truth is
that anger has no limits. It can extend not only to your
friends, the doctors, your family, yourself and your loved
one who died, but also to God. You may ask, “Where is
God in this?
Underneath anger is pain, your pain. It is natural to feel
deserted and abandoned, but we live in a society that fears
anger. Anger is strength and it can be an anchor, giving
temporary structure to the nothingness of loss. At first grief
feels like being lost at sea: no connection to anything. Then
you get angry at someone, maybe a person who didn’t
attend the funeral, maybe a person who isn’t around,
maybe a person who is different now that your loved one
has died. Suddenly you have a structure – – your anger
toward them. The anger becomes a bridge over the open
sea, a connection from you to them. It is something to hold
onto; and a connection made from the strength of anger
feels better than nothing.We usually know more about
suppressing anger than feeling it. The anger is just another
indication of the intensity of your love.
Before a loss, it seems like you will do anything if only your
loved one would be spared. “Please God,” you bargain, “I
will never be angry at my wife again if you’ll just let her live.”
After a loss, bargaining may take the form of a temporary
truce. “What if I devote the rest of my life to helping others.
Then can I wake up and realize this has all been a bad
We become lost in a maze of “If only…” or “What if…”
statements. We want life returned to what is was; we want
our loved one restored. We want to go back in time: find the
tumor sooner, recognize the illness more quickly, stop the
accident from happening…if only, if only, if only. Guilt is
often bargaining’s companion. The “if onlys” cause us to
find fault in ourselves and what we “think” we could have
done differently. We may even bargain with the pain. We
will do anything not to feel the pain of this loss. We remain
in the past, trying to negotiate our way out of the hurt.
People often think of the stages as lasting weeks or
months. They forget that the stages are responses to
feelings that can last for minutes or hours as we flip in and
out of one and then another. We do not enter and leave
each individual stage in a linear fashion. We may feel one,
then another and back again to the first one.
After bargaining, our attention moves squarely into the
present. Empty feelings present themselves, and grief
enters our lives on a deeper level, deeper than we ever
imagined. This depressive stage feels as though it will last
forever. It’s important to understand that this depression is
not a sign of mental illness. It is the appropriate response to
a great loss. We withdraw from life, left in a fog of intense
sadness, wondering, perhaps, if there is any point in going
on alone? Why go on at all? Depression after a loss is too
often seen as unnatural: a state to be fixed, something to
snap out of. The first question to ask yourself is whether or
not the situation you’re in is actually depressing. The loss of
a loved one is a very depressing situation, and depression
is a normal and appropriate response. To not experience
depression after a loved one dies would be unusual. When
a loss fully settles in your soul, the realization that your
loved one didn’t get better this time and is not coming back
is understandably depressing. If grief is a process of
healing, then depression is one of the many necessary
steps along the way.
Acceptance is often confused with the notion of being “all
right” or “OK” with what has happened. This is not the case.
Most people don’t ever feel OK or all right about the loss of
a loved one. This stage is about accepting the reality that
our loved one is physically gone and recognizing that this
new reality is the permanent reality. We will never like this
reality or make it OK, but eventually we accept it. We learn
to live with it. It is the new norm that with which we must
learn to live. We must try to live now in a world where our
loved one is missing. In resisting this new norm, at first
many people want to maintain life at it was before a love
one died. In time, through bits and pieces of acceptance,
however, we see that we cannot maintain the past intact. It
has been forever changed and we must readjust. We must
learn to reorganize roles, re-assign them to others or take
them on ourselves.
Finding acceptance may be just having more good days
than bad ones. As we begin to live again and enjoy our life,
we often feel that in doing so, we are betraying our loved
one. We can never replace what has been lost, but we can
make new connections, new meaningful relationships, new
inter-dependencies. Instead of denying our feelings, we
listen to our needs; we move, we change, we grow, we
evolve. We may start to reach out to others and become
involved in their lives. We invest in our friendships and in
our relationship with ourselves. We begin to live again, but
we cannot do so until we have given grief its time.
Published: 8th January 2021
Updated: 22nd February 2021.
Robert Chaen’s Best Compilation of Grief Articles