- Denial — "I feel fine."; "This can't be happening, not to me."
Denial is usually only a temporary defense for the individual. This feeling is generally replaced with heightened awareness of possessions and individuals that will be left behind after death.
- Anger — "Why me? It's not fair!"; "How can this happen to me?"; '"Who is to blame?"
Once in the second stage, the individual recognizes that denial cannot continue. Because of anger, the person is very difficult to care for due to misplaced feelings of rage and envy.
- Bargaining — "I'll do anything for a few more years."; "I will give my life savings if..."
The third stage involves the hope that the individual can somehow postpone or delay death. Usually, the negotiation for an extended life is made with a higher power in exchange for a reformed lifestyle.
- Depression — "I'm so sad, why bother with anything?"; "I'm going to die soon so what's the point... What's the point?"; "I miss my loved one, why go on?"
It is not recommended to attempt to cheer up an individual who is in this stage. It is an important time for grieving that must be processed.
- Acceptance — "It's going to be okay."; "I can't fight it, I may as well prepare for it."
In this last stage, individuals begin to come to terms with their mortality, or that of a loved one, or other tragic event.
Sometimes I get so hung up on being a mother and taking care of the house and work and all the other tidbits of life, that I forget to be a wife. It doesn't help our cause that we live together part time. I need to take moments to remember that I wanted to marry this man for a reason. We happen to have a leather-bound book that the officiant at our wedding gave us with the vows we took on the day we got married. In that same book, we jot down moments worth remembering in our marriage. I took a moment to re-read a few entries, to write about the miscarriage and to reflect on how much I really do love this man I'm married to. So my heart feels a little better today and I think I'm moving on to stage 5.
MORAL OF THAT STORY: Bad things happen but you can still live. It's time to let go.