Grief is a normal, yet painful, reaction to a major loss. Grief may be caused by the death of a loved one, the end of a relationship or the diagnosis of an incurable illness, among many other experiences.

Everyone experiences grief in different ways, but there are five common steps in the grieving process:

  • Denial, disbelief, numbness
  • Anger, blaming others
  • Bargaining (for instance “If I am cured of this cancer, I will never smoke again.”)
  • Depressed mood, sadness and crying
  • Acceptance, coming to terms

Support from family, friends and others in the community can be an important factor in recovering from grief. Psychological counseling may also be helpful for a person experiencing grief.

For more information on grief, visit the U.S. National Library of Medicine.