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The 3 Phases of Grief


I wish any of us could actually know and prepare for our grief journey. Here are some truths I’ve come to believe about grief timelines:

There are 3 Phases in Grief: 1) Learning that the loss happened; 2) The Head and Heart connecting on the reality of the loss; and 3) Learning to live with this reality in one’s ongoing life.

1) The first phase is learning that the death, the event, the loss, actually happened. And that takes time. Learning that something happened can be instantaneous for our heads (a + b = c). However, our hearts do not accept unwanted factual change quickly. Our hearts need much more time to learn our new world. And that can be maddening (and why my clients catch themselves going to call or text the person, even months after the death).

2) When the heart begins to connect with the head, this can bring an onslaught of reality. Many people I’ve met share that their grief feels harder and more raw during this time. Typically, this connection between the head and heart doesn’t really begin happening until 3-6 months after the loss.

3) And finally, figuring out how to live with this reality and where it belongs in your ongoing life is the final phase.

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