Mental health professionals have suggested that there are six stages in the grieving process: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance, and finding meaning. These stages help identify and make sense of what we are feeling. But we don’t always go from one stage to the other in sequence, nor will everyone go through each stage.  Each person has their own experience as they work through these stages. Being aware of what we feel can help us understand why we feel that way, and this will help us give grace to ourselves and one another. We have included some suggestions and coping techniques that you may find helpful as you experience some of these emotions. Remember, grief is always experienced in loss, and the grieving process is the person’s path to healing.   

You may experience these feelings:

  • Sadness or Weariness may be experienced as low energy and feeling tired.
  • Anger may come from a sense of frustration and having no control. Anger can be displaced towards another person and can include blaming. You may feel an underlying sense of unfairness or injustice over the situation.
  • Guilt and/or Self-Reproach – “I should have done…” “I could have done…”
  • Anxiety may involve insecurity about the future – “Now what will we do?” This may result in restlessness or agitation without being sure why we feel this way. It can also be helpful to be aware that depression is about the past, while anxiety is about the future.
  • Loneliness includes missing the bond, friendship, and stability that came from relationships that have been disrupted. It can be hard to know what to say or do around others. It may feel less tiresome to be alone, but isolation is not always the best choice.
  • Fatigue may feel like apathy, a lack of interest in activities, and feeling unusually tired.
  • Numbness tends to protect us from a flood of emotions and is natural way our bodies/minds protect themselves till able to process (Usually an initial response).

You may have some of these thoughts:

  • Disbelief – “This isn’t really happening.” “There must be a mistake.” “I’m waiting to wake up from this dream.” These thoughts can be especially strong early on.
  • Confusion – thoughts may seem confused, hard to order thoughts, difficulty in concentrating, forgetfulness. This may feel like a sense of disorientation.
  • Preoccupation – obsessive thoughts or rumination, trying to make sense.

Your behavior may be affected in the following ways:

  • Sleep disturbance – difficulty falling asleep or waking up early.
  • Appetite disturbance – not feeling hungry, eating less than normal.
  • Absentminded behavior
  • Social withdrawal


Spiritual Formation Resources:

Spiritual Disciplines Handbook by Adele Calhoun
Anatomy of the Soul by Curt Thompson, M.D.
Practicing The Presence by Brother Lawrence
Scripture Meditation and Listening Prayer
Meet with Spiritual Director
Other Spiritual Formation books

Mindfulness Exercises (search for online videos for guided exercises):

Meet with Professional Counselor
Breathing Exercises
Body Scan
Breath Prayer
Creating, making something, artwork, playing an instrument, baking, writing,
building projects
Try the “Calm” app


Coffee/snack with friend(s)
Walk in the woods with friend(s)
Attend a Community Group from church
Share a meal
Play a game
Join a book club
Participate in Wednesday evening Zoom prayer (Compline)
Join in corporate worship
Attend COR@9
Volunteer to serve
Participate in morning prayer at Redeemer

Exercise, be active (take your family or/and friend(s):

Take a walk, run, jog
Work out

Please note that grief and Depression share similar symptoms, but a grief reaction typically does not cause a loss of self-esteem. For questions or help, please contact Deacon Ethan or Nancy DeWeese, LCPC, for guidance and care. 

Further Reading on Grief, Loss, and Trauma

A Grace Disguised – Gerald Sittser
A Grief Observed – C.S. Lewis
Chronicle of Grief – Mel Lawrence
Experiencing Grief – Norman Wright
Hang on, Let Go – Frank Viola
Shattered Dreams – Philip Yancy
Quiet Time for Those Who Grieve – Norman Wright
Resilient Grieving: Finding Strength and Embracing Life After a Loss that Changes Everything – Lucy Hone
Moving Through Grief: Proven Techniques for Finding Your Way After Any Loss – Gretchen Kubacky Psy D
The Wild Edge of Sorrow: Rituals of Renewal and the Sacred Work of Grief – Francis Weller
On Grief and Grieving: Finding the Meaning of Grief Through the Five Stages of Loss – Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
Finding Meaning: The Sixth Stage of Grief – David Kessler