One way to understand grief has been to consider it as a process containing stages that we move through often oscillating backward and forward. For example see my four stage model based on researching other models and my experience at the end of my marriage

Initial shock

Involves denial, numbness, physical effects, withdrawal or busyness

The Reality Stage  

Acknowledging the reality of the loss and understanding the implications of the changes.

Involves many emotions including anger, depression, fear, anxiety, guilt, hopelessness. Is a time of intense pain and sorrow                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Letting go

Accepting the implications of the loss and the new reality. Withdrawing emotionally from what was  lost.

Involves saying goodbye, forgiveness

Moving on

Healing and becoming ready to invest emotionally in the new reality.

Involves hope, peace, forward planning


There is now a move away from stage models of processing grief describing them as ‘linear’. The Worden Task model based on grief following death of a loved one ‘suggests that grieving should be considered as an active process that involves engagement in four tasks’ 1  which are shown below against my stages.

Stage of grief Worden task based model
Shock stage Accept the reality of the loss
Reality Process the pain and grief
Letting go Adjust to a world without the deceased
Moving on Embarking on a new life (still with connection to deceased)

Watch the video below for an explanation of the process using my stages and Worden’s task

The recovery from grief is a slow process. See blog ‘It takes more than a bandaid for the wounds of grief to heal’

How are you engaging with the grief process?

Look at the section ‘Healing for ideas on managing your grief.


1 Hall C, Beyond Kubler-Ross – recent developments in our understanding of grief and bereavement, Australian Psychological Society Dec 2011 accessed 25/4/16