I often hear people refer to a teenager’s poor behavior as a phase. Somehow, this interpretation or usage of the word lessens its true application. A phase as described in the dictionary is a process of change or development. This true meaning of “phase” is exactly what we are describing in the Phases of Mourning. Each phase as it is accomplished brings the survivor back to a balance in life. It allows joy, peace, and tranquility to return. It reestablishes harmony and allows functionality to exist within the survivor’s life.
Mourning is divided into four phases.
Phase 1 - A period of numbness. Numbness is the deprivation of physical or emotional sensations. The numbness experienced by most survivors, helps them to disregard that death has occurred. This short period of numbness allows them to function in a manner close to their normal level of productivity. This is particularly noteworthy, as there are very important decisions to make at this time.
Phase 2 - A period of yearning. The survivor yearns for the return of the deceased and does not yet comprehend the permanence of this new reality. Anger is generally experienced during this phase. Anger may be directed at the deceased for not being there to help out, or for inflicting loneliness and pain upon the survivor. Anger may also be directed at others for not doing something to prevent the death of the deceased. It may also be projected upon others or self, for non-factually based perceptions, affecting the cause of death. Anger is a powerful and motivating emotion. It is not always factually based.
Phase 3 - A time of disorganization and despair. The survivor is learning that things are not the same. They find it difficult to function as they once did. Each experience that was once a cooperative effort is now their sole responsibility. This is the most crucial phase of the experience to overcome. If a survivor is unable to move beyond this phase, they are in danger of entering severe depression and recovery may become extremely complicated.
Phase 4 - A reorganization of behavior. In this phase of mourning, we see the survivor change all aspects of their existence. They pull their lives together and begin to function at their normal capacity, albeit alone.
Although life has forever changed, if a survivor passes through each of these phases successfully, grief recovery will be clinically completed. They should be able to satisfactorily accomplish their daily activities and eventually participate in social activities with greater ease.
My name is Tracy Renee Lee. I am a funeral director, author and freelance writer. I write books, weekly articles and brief tips on understanding and coping with grief. It is my life's work to comfort the bereaved and help them live on.
Please follow my blog at http://pushin-up-daisies.blogspot.com/ and Twitter account @PushnUpDaisies, visit my website www.QueenCityFuneralHome.com or read my book “Pushin’ Up Daisies” for additional encouragement and information.