After losing a loved one, you find yourself confronted with emotions that can seem unbearable and overwhelming by grief. Although this is painful, it is quite normal and a sign of sincere feelings for the deceased. Coping with grief is a necessary process and usually happens in four phases. Because everyone handles the loss of a loved one differently, you should take as much time as you need to handle your individual grief and not feel rushed. It is important to find your own way of dealing with your emotions.

The four phases of grief

After a loved one has died, there are four phases of grief, which often flow seamlessly from one to the other. Sometimes a person can experience or re-experience one phase of grief more intensely than another. If you feel stuck in a phase of grief or alone in your daily life, a grief counsellor or psychologist can offer professional support.

1. The shock phase

Emotional shock is often the first reaction to the death of a loved one. This condition can last for days or weeks after the funeral. In this phase of grief, mourners often feel completely emotionless and empty; they can’t understand or accept what has happened. During this time, it is important to let friends and family help. They are the ones who understand the pain best and can offer support.

2. Emotional chaos

In this phase, all feelings break through. Grievers are flooded with a variety of emotions, such as anger, fear, hatred, despair and longing. These emotions often change very suddenly, which can be exhausting for the grieving person. The mourner may also feel guilty or look for someone to blame for their loss. Parents who have lost a child are often plagued by intense feelings of guilt. The most important thing in this phase of grief is not to suppress or exaggerate these feelings, but to accept them.

3. Searching and saying goodbye

In this phase of grief, mourners will once again experience familiar situations and daily routines that were previously shared with the deceased. It is not uncommon for grievers to enter into dialogue with the deceased. Outsiders can find this difficult to understand. For children especially, this phase of grief can be very strong and experienced with particular intensity. In this phase, it takes time and calmness to be able to say goodbye.

4. Reorientation

The last phase of grief is the time for detachment and new beginnings. When you feel that it’s time to set yourself free by saying goodbye and letting the loved one go, it is easier to deal with grief in small doses. This does not mean that you’ve forgotten or want to forget the deceased.

Grievers are often afraid of this phase, but it simply means that the grieving process has been peacefully concluded and they can find balance and inner peace. The lost loved one lives inside you and brings memories of sadness, but also joy.

This is where wants to offer support for grievers. By cherishing and sharing memories, people can look at past grief with new eyes, capture the beautiful moments and share them with friends and relatives. It is a way of letting loved ones live on. Why not preserve their achievements – as a family hero, sports fan, club member or other local personality – so that the community can remember them and honour their efforts? Obituaries have long been a newspaper tradition, but today technology offers all kinds of possibilities to bring them to life with photos, images and even videos.