The Road to Recovery


Everyone experiences grief differently. Some hold it in. Others try to get rid of it by letting it out. Regardless of how grief affects a person, it always hurts. Thankfully, grief is not a permanent state but a process one goes through as a means of coping with loss.

Grief is a deep mental anguish. Often, though, it manifests itself in physical ailments which dominate both mind and body.  Consequently, people experiencing grief are often unprepared for the overwhelming effect it may have on their life.

Chances are if you're reading this you're grieving over the loss of a loved one. That's okay. It means that you were lucky enough to have had someone special in your life for a period of time. What you're experiencing is loss. And loss is difficult. It brings fear, anger, sadness and unfamiliarity. The troubling aspect of all this is that you didn't invite any of these emotions into your life but now they're here and you must deal with them.

It is important to understand grief and its effects while you're grieving. Understanding leads to acceptance, and acceptance leads to healing. Grieving does not make you weak. It makes you strong. It is important to be able to admit to yourself that you are hurting, even if you can't quite admin it to others. Once you've acknowledged its presence, you can begin getting through it.

Although is may seem impossible, what you're feeling now is temporary. Anguish, like any other emotion, does not last forever. Grief has a beginning and an end, although the end may not be obvious. If you can get through the beginning, you'll rejoice in greeting the end. Reaching the end takes time, but time is a great healer.



Research has shown that grief has three recognizable stages. The first is shock and/or denial. This was probably your initial response to the death of your loved one. Although you may have outwardly accepted the loss, inwardly your brain refused to accept the message. Slowly, awareness began to creep in buy you probably were still thinking; "No, I can't believe it. It can't be true."

In the denial stage, you ability to comprehend is limited and disbelief is the major emotion experienced. It is suggested that this is due to the fact that your body can't handle the full impact of shocking news all at once. As a result, your mind only allows you to absorb the news a little at a time in tolerable doses.

The real pain of grief comes with the second stage; anger/depression. It is in this stage we begin asking; "Why?" We feel hurt, alone, confused and frustrated. And it's at this stage that grief begins to affect us physically as well as emotionally. You may experience loss of appetite, inability to sleep, unexpected tears, upset stomach, memory lapses, weight loss, nightmares and other physical reactions that impair you ability to function normally. It is important to understand that these ailments are perfectly normal responses to grief.

The final stage of grief is understanding/acceptance. Questions have been raised as to whether or not one can ever fully grasp the significance of the loss of a loved one, although a certain amount of understanding is necessary for recovery. Acceptance, therefore, is the most important aspect of this stage. That doesn't mean your life will never be good again. It just means it's changed. As a result you will be changed too.



Grief differs from person to person based on the length of time it affects a person and the intensity with which it hits. However, everyone goes through all three stages of grief to some extent. Some stay longer in a given stage than others. Some experience a stage more than once; but all stages are normal and necessary to the recovery process.

Unfortunately there is no magic formula to help speed up the grief process. It must run its course, in its own time and in its own way. There are ways to soften the effects of grief; however, by taking an active role in the recovery process you can minimize the hurt.

Here are some points to help in grief recovery:

             Be patient with yourself - Healing occurs in almost unnoticeable increments.

             Recognize your life is going to change

             Pamper yourself

             Realize that you are more than just the pain you are suffering.

             Don't be afraid to think, it will help you with your denial.

             Postpone making major decisions.


Remember, the Road to Recovery takes COURAGE. Click each letter to learn more.

C hanges and feelings
O vercoming
U nderstanding
R eaching out
A  time for recovery
G rowth and opportunity
E ncouragement