As a world we are collectively grieving. The world has changed and so have we. We are grieving the loss of normality, the loss of routine, the loss of social contact, the loss of our independence. Indeed many of us may even feel we've 'lost' ourselves along the way.
We're also experiencing anticipatory grief, feeling worried by all the uncertainty that exists out there and in our minds, feeling worried about the future. This makes us feel unsafe in the world.
Grief is a difficult emotion, arguably not just one emotion but rather a cycle that you have to work your way through. There is no particular order as to how you work your way through the cycle - it is different for different people. However, it is important that we acknowledge what we are feeling and look for ways of coping with it and perhaps even finding meaning in it.
For a long time we have thought of grief as having five stages - Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Sadness and Acceptance. This is based on work by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross. However, more recently David Kessler, the world's foremost expert on grief, has added another stage to the process, that of Meaning.
So what are the six stages of grief?
1) Denial - "This virus won’t affect us" 2) Anger - "You’re making me stay home" 3) Bargaining - "If I social distance for three weeks everything will be better, won't it?" 4) Sadness- "I don’t know when this will end" 5) Acceptance - "This is happening. I have to find a way to manage this" This is the stage where we have the most control - we find ways to work from home, we talk about solutions rather than problems 6) Meaning - finding a new appreciation e.g. of spending quality time with your immediate family or discovering a new way of doing things e.g. connecting through technology