The First Year of Grief: Help for the Journey
Understand the nature of grief and loss and their potential impact on all aspects of your life: physical,
financial, emotional, social and spiritual. Learn how to move through grief actively and
make the process of mourning a healing one. Find support and guidance in dealing with
the many facets of grief.
Dear Marty ~ What are the stages of grief?
Q & A by Bereavement Counselor Marty Tousley
I was wondering if you could list the stages of grief for me as I am trying to help a
friend who recently lost her mother.
How good of you to be the sort of friend who wants to "be there" in a positive
way for your friend who is mourning the loss of her mother. You've asked about the so-called
stages of grief. What you may be thinking of are the stages of dying originally described by
Elisabeth Kubler-Ross in her still popular book,
On Death and Dying.
Since that book was first published (in 1969), many people have taken her findings much
too literally, expecting the dying process to occur in neatly ordered stages, one following the other.
The stages of dying originally described by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross are:
1) Denial and Isolation
As wonderful as her groundbreaking work in death and dying was, her
"stages" model was never meant to apply to those who are in mourning. Her studies
were focused on patients who were terminally ill and dying. That is a common mistake you will
find repeatedly in the literature still today. But there has been a wealth of research done since
Kubler-Ross' pioneering work that focuses specifically on bereavement, loss and grief.
What your friend needs to know is that grief is the normal response to the death of a loved one,
and it doesn't happen in neatly ordered "stages" as such.
Most of us who specialize in grief counseling prefer to think of grief as the personal experience
of the loss, and mourning as a process (not a single event) that can affect us in every dimension
of our lives: physical, emotional, social, spiritual and financial.
Everyone's grief journey is unique, and there is no specific time-frame for it. Although grief is
different for each individual, finding a way through it successfully requires some
knowledge and understanding of the grief experience and the work of mourning.
Because your friend is engaged in ongoing discussions with you about the death of her mother,
you can help her by encouraging her to read what others have written about grief. Arming
her with a better understanding of grief prepares her for whatever feelings and experiences
she can normally expect, validates her responses, and enables her to face more readily
whatever lies ahead. It also offers her the hope that if others have made it through this difficult
experience of losing their mothers, then so can she.
Wishing you Peace and Healing,
Marty Tousley, Bereavement Counselor
Copyright © Martha M. Tousley. All rights reserved. If you are interested in publishing this article, please email .
Grief Counseling course
This grief counseling course
is designed to help the bereaved better understand the nature of grief and its potential impact
on all aspects of their life: physical, financial, emotional, social and spiritual. You'll find
information, support and guidance on both practical and emotional matters such as:
Finally, you'll be helped to reflect upon and evaluate your own progress as you move from
surviving toward transcending your grief.
- Guidance in making difficult lifestyle adjustments (in finances, retirement, housing, etc.).
- Dealing with different grieving patterns in a family.
- Guidance through the emotional upheaval of grief and ways to minimize stress.
- Guidance through the shock, disbelief, confusion, fear, anger, guilt, sorrow, loneliness of loss.
- Mystical experiences and spiritual reactions that are commonly experienced in loss.
- How to identify and establish a support system.
- How to cope with the upsets, set-backs and aftershocks that accompany normal grief.
Course Length: 24 lessons
Recommended Course Pace: bi-weekly receipt of lessons