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I found a place where Stage IV is a good thing......


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How ironic is this? Instead of dreading Stage IV, Stage IV is what some of us on this Grieving forum are striving for:

~~~~~~~The Stages Of Grieving

~~~~~~~~~~~by Debra Moore

Even though we are all different, grieving can sometimes follow a loose pattern. You will go through you grief in your own unique way, but it may be reassuring to know that others may follow similar journeys. If this does not describe your journey, that is fine. There is no right way to grieve.

A death is like a wound. We take for granted that physical wounds require time as well as attention to heal properly. Emotional wounds are the same, though we often neglect to give them either the time or attention they deserve. When this happens, we may get stuck in our grief, and our sadness may turn to depression or simmering anger. You may be surprised to hear that psychologists do not expect the grieving process to be completed for about two years if the death is of a spouse or child. If the grieving process is allowed to run its natural course, this is a pattern you may experience.

Stage I: Breaking Old Habits

(Time of death to about eight weeks)

Immediately after a death, feelings of numbness, acute pain, anger, or powerlessness may overcome you. Many decisions need to be made at this time and they may seem overwhelming. Countless routine habits remind you of your loved one and of your loss. You probably feel deep sadness and loneliness. During this period a grieving person may experience changes in appetite and sleeping habits. These disturbances generally last only a short time and clear up eventurally. If they do not, this may be a sign that you may want to seek professional counseling to talk about your feelings.

You may also decide to seek counseling if you are having a difficult time allowing your feelings to emerge. Unexpected tears now are normal and help you move through your grief. Holding them back is not helpful and may actually prolong your grief. Being preoccupied with your loved one is also normal during this first stage. Many people report a sense of the deceased one's presence, and psychologists do not regard these experiences as abnormal at all. In fact, continuing to "talk" to your loved one may provide comfort at this time. This first stage is not the time to make important life changes. It is a time to be as kind to yourself as possible.

Stage II: Beginning to Reconstruct Your Life

(Eight weeks to one year)

You probably continue to experience emotional unsettledness during this first year. You may be more prone to illness or accidents, may continue to have bouts of sleep disturbance or change in appetite, and may begin to cry unexpectedly, perhaps when seeing a scene on television that reminds you of a time with your loved one. You may experience lapses of memory or carelessness.

Some survivors may now attempt to self-medicate with alcohol or other drugs. If you begin to depend on these substances, take an honest look at yourself and get professional help now. Things are likely to get worse without it. You may find yourself thinking of suicide. If these thougts linger or if they frighten you, seek out professional help to talk about them. A counselor will not think you are crazy because you have had suicidal thoughts, but will help you be sure you never act on them. During this first year, holidays and special dates are particularly painful. Remember that each year it will get easier. This is not the way it is always going to feel. By the anniversary of the death, you will be aware of some changes in yourself. You have a way to go, but can begin to look towards the future.

Stage III: Seeking New Love Objects or Friends

(One year to two years)

If you have been allowing yourself to grieve, you will probably now notice that many routines have returned to normal. You may be sleeping, eating, remembering, and concentrating better. You can laugh again and seldom cry unexpectedly. You continue to think of the deceased, but not as often or with as much intensity. You are not as prone to illness or accidents. You have probably made some new friends by now, and have shared your experiences with them. You have probably started planning leisure activities more often, and are less lonely and more involved. If you are working, you are able to be as productive as before the death of your loved one. Your thinking is sharper and more focused.

If this does not describe you at this point in your grieving, please consider talking to someone. If you are totally uncomfortable with the idea of seeing a professional counselor, at least open up to a close friend or family member. You may also want to read some books on grieving or do some journaling if you have not already done so. If you do decide to seek professional help, remember that you can go for only one visit or as many as you need.

Stage IV: Readjustment Completed

(After the second year)

At this final stage, you have settled into your new life and activities. Things feel normal and routine. At times you feel quite content. You can look easily toward the future. Knowing that you have survived this loss tells you that you can survive anything. You know that pain eases in time and the wounds in your heart have healed. You may feel like a different person - and you are. You have changed and grown. If you have allowed the pain of your grief to be experienced, you have been rewarded with renewed hope and courage.

http://www.planetpsych.com/zPsychology_ ... ieving.htm

~~The bold emphasizes my feelings only - your emphasis might be on something else


Can any of who have reached Stage IV let us know if this is pretty close to accurate? Like third base in baseball, I'm SAFE. I've slid into and barely touched third base (Stage III). In the past months, I truly couldn't believe that I would ever get better. How could I? I just couldn't "see" it.

I now believe that there really is an end to grief.



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I think this is a very true guide line to grieving. I know for myself, I have hit the last stage and have made many changes in my life including get remarried. It takes time. Not everyone is going to go through their grief in the same time frame but I think it is a good example of what the average is.

I still think of Randy often and the kids and I talk about him still. We probably always will. There are memories that only we have of him and we share those memories at different times. It still hurts at times when we talk about different things that happen, but then it hurts at times when I talk about my father who passed 16 years ago.

Bottom line is we survive and we do go on with our lives. I know I have come to apprieciate every day that I have because I know it can change in a heartbeat.

Thanks for posting this and THANK YOU FOR TALKING!!!!!


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WOW! That's awesome. I like how it tells you what to expect, what is normal, and what specific things you should seek help for. excellent.

I also feel sort of good because I think most of that stuff in the first year has more or less been the line I've been following.

I may print this out from the original website and pin it up in my cube at work right next to The Mourners Bill of Rights (directed at my weenie boss who thought I should come back to work after Dave died and be completely normal. what a loser).



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Okay, I am 23 months today. And yes, I agree with the stages. Albeit, every once and a while I still cry unexpectedly. But I am happy, I have moved on with my life, new house, new adventures, new hobbies (I have become a compulsive golfer).

I have had 2 dates. I realize that I am not ready for an emotional attachment yet, not sure if I ever will. But then it may just be that I was not attracted to either of these guys.

I will love and miss Earl forever. There is a part of me that still believes he will come back. But that is my heart, my mind knows (damnit).

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Thank you for the post. I am still all over the place. I talk to Ed constantly and it is a great comfort. The hardest part was to lose contact with the friends we had together has a couple. I just need to make new friends, to me that seems to be a daunting task. During my teen years I was quite a loner and only depended on a boyfriend. I have not cultivated friends. Now is a good time to start.

Peggy thank you so much


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Earl and I had many 'couple' friends. When he died I asked my friends to please not exclude me from couples events. I jokingly said I did not want a man that left half of his money behind. To their credit, all but my best friend, continue to include me.

Adela, ask, don't wait to be asked. Your couple friends may surprise you pleasantly. Taking this chance and getting a 'NO' is better than taking no chance at all. Good luck.

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Dear Adela,

Take Ginny's advice - she's 100% right. In the past 11 months I've learned that I HAVE to take the initiative. People just ARE NOT going to come to me.

I am still amazed that all those that I thought were friends disappeared as if they were a bunch of ants and somebody dumped water on them. Get the picture?

I remember about a month or so after Don died that it was OBVIOUS that my neighbors were actually avoiding me. Oh, they were friendly enough when we were in one of those situations where you can't escape - you know, right there at the fence, etc., but I actually saw them several times duck in the house when I went out to get the mail or checking out my new grass seed. I would see them out of the corner of my eye as I walked toward the road, but when I turned around, they had gone in the house.

I knew it wasn't because they didn't like me. We had always been friendly. Even though we didn't do things together socially, we always waved and sometimes stopped to just chit-chat. I know a couple of times when I talked to them in the yard after Don died, I got kind of weepy (but, choked it back and didn't stand there and cry my eyes out). I finally realized that they were deliberately avoiding me. It could have been because of the tears, or because they thought I might fall apart and they couldn't/wouldn't want to deal with that, but I mostly think they were afraid I was really going to ask them to DO something to help me. :roll:

I've read several articles in the past week or so about why our friends and family avoid us. It's complicated in some cases, but when we learn WHY they do that, at least we understand and can let them go. I didn't say it was "right", but I do understand.

Anyway, now that I've slid into that stage where I'm ready, it's easy for me to make friends and talk to people. Since you're on the shy side, just start with baby steps. There are so many ways to meet people and make new friends - walking in your neighborhood and just stopping to say hello to somebody washing their car or working on their flower garden, etc. I think that joining a church is the best step to making new friends, and joining a grieving group is also a really good place to start. There are card clubs, YWCA, library groups - the list goes on and on where you can find and make new friends, and just go at your own pace.

Hang in there, Adela. We are all in this together!



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  • 2 weeks later...

Thank you so much. I lost my mom 3 months ago, and it seems harder today than back then. The kids are out of school, I'm not busy with PTA stuff, so I have all this time to think of her, and how much I miss her. Anything from a Mets game (she was a huge fan), to my daughter talking about missing her can set me off. It just hurts so much.

I look forward to reaching Stage IV, although it's a while away.

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