Elizabeth Kübler-Ross was a pioneer in trying to chart the stages of grief. She identified 5 grief stages or phases:
Another list offers 7 stages of grief.
Because people grieve in different ways, the manner in which people move through the grief journey is also different. It is important to keep in mind that these grief stages and processes are not sequential or linear. In his book, Guide for Grief, Rodger Murchison reminds us that people tend to move through the grief process in a cyclical pattern. For some, the bereavement process falls into overlapping phases. A mourner may move from one phase to another and later experience an earlier phase again. Some will not experience one or more of the grief phases at all. As mourners do their grief work, Rodger says they often discover they are moving forward to a positive resolution of their feelings of grief.
Guide for Grief speaks about grief as a path we take. It can be unpredictable but usually there are some conventional steps we all walk. Rodger leads the reader to discover that grief is not the enemy. As we face our grief in a healthy way, we realize that grief can be a teacher. If we are willing to learn and not be afraid of our own vulnerability, then new vistas of hope and truth can await our future.