Are you good at comforting friends who lost a loved one to death? Do you know what to say or what to do in such situation?

Most of us avoid visiting a grieving friend, even though we know that our friend needs us most in her grief. The problem is that we do not know what to say, and afraid that we offend our friend.

It is at this point in our life that we need to know something about the grieving process.

It is important to understand the five stages of grieving so that we can determine which stage of grieving our friend is.

What are the 5 stages of grieving?

1. Denial

It is hard to accept that our loved one is dead.

Even if you expect death to occur anytime in a person with terminal illness, it is still hard to accept death.

When death is anticipated, the first stage of grieving lasts for a very short time. We may find it hard to accept initially. However, we will convince ourselves that our loved one is no longer in pain.

If death is unanticipated, and death occurs elsewhere, this denial stage will last for a long time.

For example, it is hard for relatives to accept that their loved ones die in a plane crash.

It seems so impossible for permanent separation to occur in such way.

In this case, there may not even have a dead body to convince us that the loved one is gone forever.

The denial stage can last a very long time. We hope against hope for our loved one to come back. Mentally we accept that the loved one is gone. Emotionally we cannot accept the fact.

2. Anger

Anger often follows the stage of denial.

It is strange to think that a person can get angry when his loved one has passed away. However, that is a natural progression of the stage of grieving.

The person can direct the anger at the dead loved one for leaving him behind. The person can direct the anger at himself for not stopping his relative to board the ill-fated plane.

The anger can direct to the party who is at fault. The anger can direct at God, for taking away the person who matters most in his life.

It is very hard to comfort someone at this stage of grieving. It is better to let the grieving party airs his grievance.

3. Bargaining

This stage of grieving lasts until the point when a person knows that death is final.

This is the stage where a person bargains for the hope of getting the loved one back. It usually lasts longer when death is unexpected.

A person hopes that he is the one who passes away, instead of his young child.

When he starts to realize that death is final, and nothing can bring the dead child back, the next stage of grieving starts.

4. Depression

Depression is the stage of grieving that lasts a very long time.

This is the time when your friend needs you most. Depression always happens after the funeral. Death does not feel right until the day of the funeral.

The grieving relatives are mostly in the first or second stage of grieving process during the funeral. It is often after the funeral that reality sets in.

It is hard to wake up in the morning to find a child is no longer around, and will never come back. It is hard to face the fact that the king sized bed no longer sleeps two persons.

The stage of depression lasts for a few months to a few years.

Some people deal with it by alcohol. Some people drown themselves in work. Some people cry their hearts out.

Those who can cry heartily usually get over the grieving process faster. They are willing to face the harsh reality instead of seeking comfort in other matters.

If your friend does not get over this stage, he may even commit suicide.

It is very hard to comfort a person in this stage of grieving. Nothing you can say is right. The best is to keep your mouth shut, and just be there.

Your presence is a real comfort to your friend. The worst possible thing is to tell him not to feel like that. The fact is that you have no right to tell anyone what to feel or what not to feel.

5. Acceptance

When the grieving process reaches the acceptance stage, the grieving process has completed.

Your friend can look at the picture of the dead loved one without feeling depressed. Your friend will start to filter memory, and recall only the happy memories.

This is the time you can help to recall the happier memories.

Understanding the 5 stages of grieving helps you to become a better person and a better friend.

When you know the 5 stages of grieving, you can learn to say appropriate words or do the most appropriate action.

It is still awkward for anyone to comfort a grieving person. However, the test of true friendship is your willingness to help your friend in his moment of needs.

Even though most people pass through the 5 stages of grieving, that does not mean the length of each stage is the same.

Some people take just a few minutes to pass through stage 1 to 3, and they stay in stage 4 for a very long time.

Some people take a few days to reach the stage of acceptance.

Everyone reacts to death of a loved one differently. That is why no two persons can react the same way over the death of a loved one. Some people may accept the death of a loved one, and find it hard to accept the death of a pet.