The first stage is Denial. Being in denial doesn’t mean you literally don’t know your loved one has died. It simply means you come home and you can’t believe your loved one isn’t going to walk through the door or return from their fishing trip. Denial may appear as shock or feeling numb. It can show up as a dream we think we’re having or disbelief and the mind can’t fully process it.
We might wonder how we can go on or why we should go on. Denial is nature’s way of letting us know how much we can handle and helps us cope with our feelings of grief. Which is a good thing. It’s also a mechanism for preventing all the feelings associated with loss coming in all at once. That would be overwhelming.
Denial also brings about questions of how and why?
Once you start asking questions, the reality of the loss begins to sink in. As you accept the reality of the loss and start to ask questions, you’re unknowingly beginning the healing process. You become stronger and denial is beginning to fade. But as you proceed all the feelings you were denying begin to surface.