Grief is a painful aspect of life that escapes no one, yet there’s no accepted framework for exactly how long it takes to address all of its ramifications. The first of five stages deals with the shock of learning of the death and often immediately denying that it took place.
The form of death can often determine how long grief lasts, with more sudden demises often taking longer to deal with than terminal cases. Denial is usually a momentary attempt to delay the searing impact of painful reality.
Next is anger, which most often elicits emotions when it comes to the perceived injustice of a death. This can that of a child, an accident victim or an individual whose circumstances led to an untimely death. Psychoanalyst Patrick Mahony knows that such emotions may never go away, bringing with them health consequences for the grieving individual or even thoughts of revenge when negligence or criminality was the cause.
Bargaining is often a fruitless endeavor due to the pointless nature of the effort. This usually lasts only a short period of time, given that services or other disposition of the deceased bring with a painful finality to the wisdom of such a move.
While depression can begin before any final services, Patrick Mahony sees this mostly manifest in the aftermath of such periods. Well-meaning friends go on with their lives and relatives return to their home, leaving those without a strong support system vulnerable to this problem. That structure can often determine such lengths.
Finally, acceptance may never actually come for some individuals. Those that come to this realization can often try and live up to the deceased’s ideals, while those who don’t reach this stage can be vulnerable to meeting the same fate when pertinent anniversaries roll around.