Understanding Grief – Stages of Grief

Losing a loved one is difficult and often very trying. And while every situation is unique, some reactions are repetitive. Research by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross suggests that there are common emotions in all those who have lost a loved one. She developed a theory on the five stages of grief:

  • Denial
  • Anger
  • Bargaining
  • Depression
  • Acceptance

This theory was presented in his book “On Death and Dying”.

The Five Stages of Grief: universal yet personal

There are no rules as to how long each stage of bereavement should last. Nevertheless, it seems that certain stages can be identified.

1)Shock and denial

At first there is a short phase in which the person is overwhelmed by the announcement of the disappearance of the other person. It leaves him or her without apparent emotion, as if in a state of astonishment, denial occurs. It is a temporarily saving reaction to insurmountable pain. Denial is the negation of facts that have happened but are impossible to integrate. The person believes in an illusion, a nightmare. He or she refuses to consider only the information given to them. It is a brief phase, but one that can be fraught with consequences if the person is unable to stop it.


With the awareness of the reality of the news comes the phase of anger, where the person revolts against what they feel is injustice. They can find an outlet by pointing to someone responsible. This is an extremely painful and delicate stage to go through. Strong internal contradictions are expressed: accusations, feelings of guilt. Especially if the survivor blames him or herself for not having been able to do anything to prevent the death of the other person.


Frustrated, the bereaved person irrationally tries to bargain for the return of the disappeared. Confronted with the irreversibility of things, he or she will enter the more or less long phase of depression.

4)Depression and pain

By coming to recognize that the loss has taken place, the bereaved person sinks into depression. Unable to cope with daily life, passive, they see no way out of their suffering. This phase of mourning, if it stagnates for too long, should be a warning of a possible pathological state.


Finally, there comes a time when the depressed person finds in his or her own resources. The strength to come out of his or her pain and isolation. By distancing themselves from their grief, they ask themselves how they can rebuild themselves. They resume activities and seek the presence of others. Reality is admitted. The person can reintegrate the course of his or her life. There will have been a before, and there is an after. He has understood that he can live by no longer being the same, without ever forgetting the absent being.

Get in touch with Crime Scene Intervention!

Crime Scene Intervention puts its know-how at your disposal to accompany your mourning. They intervene with humanity and empathy for the cleaning of the place where the person died. Do not hesitate to get in touch.

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