- Shock and Emotional Freeze-Up. When a person dies, either expectedly or unexpectedly, the ones who remain are left in shock. Their emotions temporarily freeze. In this stage, it is good to weep.
- Problem Distinguishing Between Fact and Fantasy. There is an expectation that the deceased will return at any moment. Many things will remind them of their loved ones. A person will sometimes live in a life of fantasy and think it to be fact.
- Emotional Flood Gates Open at the Most Unexpected Moment. Because people often restrain their emotions, they will often break at a later stage. One should not be ashamed of this occurring regardless of the place or time. It is usually uncontrollable.
- Association. The most difficult time a person lives through after the death of someone close is the special days like Christmas, Thanksgiving, birthdays, anniversaries, etc. During these times of association, grieving people need extra care. There are many things which arouse association. It is okay to ask for special care and attention during these times.
- Acceptance. At this point fact becomes real. This does not mean that emotions will not surge or associations will not occur. It does mean that the person remaining accepts the facts and faces life accordingly.
- Facing the Future. A person never gets over sharing life without someone close who has died. However, one must adjust to life without the presence of the loved one. Set some goals and do some things you have always wanted to do.
(Adapted from Kübler-Ross, Elisabeth, On Death and Dying. Reprint edition (July 26, 2011).