How To Deal With A Loss

How To Deal With A Loss

Whether you have had months to prepare for it, or it happens suddenly, and without warning, loss causes trauma and grief that can become all-consuming, and insurmountable. In the moment that you hear of the loss, you can feel shock, denial, sadness, anger, or all of these things at once. What death leaves in its wake can be devastating, heart-wrenching, and like your entire world is consumed by a wave of pain. Loss can feel surreal, and denial can set in. A beautifully animated short film about coming to terms with loss after a tsunami can support you in accepting death.

I recently lost someone I deeply cared about, and very suddenly. He was only 42, and was in the best place I had ever seen him in life. When I heard of the accident he was in, I immediately went into shock. It felt as if I had been thrown into a brick wall, and as if nothing was ever going to be the same again. It has not.


Though it has not been long since my dear friend passed, this loss has permeated every facet of my life. What felt like a nightmare for days began to feel more real. I realized I couldn’t text him to ask him a question, or check in with him. This person I assumed would always be there was just suddenly – gone.

After a great loss, there are five stages of grief, according to Elisabeth Kubler-Ross.


Denial and Isolation are the first stage. This is the phase of denial where we cannot accept that the death has really happened. We are in shock, and it feels like a nightmare we keep waiting, and hoping, to wake from.

Anger is the second stage. We become angry over the loss of someone, and begin to direct the anger in indirect and misguided ways. We may be angry at the circumstances, at family members, or even at ourselves.


Bargaining is the third stage. We feel like we could have done something differently to prevent that person from dying. This involves guilt and helplessness.

Depression is the fourth stage. We start worrying about the details – burial costs, medical bills left unpaid – and we worry we have neglected those that are still living. There is a sadness, that becomes about handling business, rather than about the loss of the person themselves.


Acceptance is the final stage. Not everyone can truly accept the loss of someone near and dear to them, but if they fortunate enough to make it to this stage, they learn to accept their sadness, and embrace the life that they are living.

Featured photo credit: April Galansky via

More by this author

Bridget Baker

Web Presence Sherpa

If You Think Bread Is Always Healthy For You, Think Again 10 Habits Of People Who Can Always Generate Great Ideas 10 Easy Ways to Rise Earlier Than Anyone Else 8 Benefits Of Being A Minimalist 10 Ways To De-Clutter, Simplify, and Streamline Your Life

Trending in Communication

1 How SMART Goal Setting Makes Lasting Changes in Your Life 2 10 Things Happy People Do Differently 3 4 Ways Physical Touch Helps Your Relationship 4 9 Reasons to Incorporate Yoga Meditation and Mindfulness into Your Life 5 How to Deal with Anger and Better Control Your Emotions

Read Next


Last Updated on February 13, 2019

10 Things Happy People Do Differently

10 Things Happy People Do Differently

Think being happy is something that happens as a result of luck, circumstance, having money, etc.? Think again.

Happiness is a mindset. And if you’re looking to improve your ability to find happiness, then check out these 10 things happy people do differently.

Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions. -Dalai Lama

1. Happy people find balance in their lives.

Folks who are happy have this in common: they’re content with what they have, and don’t waste a whole lot of time worrying and stressing over things they don’t. Unhappy people do the opposite: they spend too much time thinking about what they don’t have. Happy people lead balanced lives. This means they make time for all the things that are important to them, whether it’s family, friends, career, health, religion, etc.


2. Happy people abide by the golden rule.

You know that saying you heard when you were a kid, “Do unto others as you would have them do to you.” Well, happy people truly embody this principle. They treat others with respect. They’re sensitive to the thoughts and feelings of other people. They’re compassionate. And they get treated this way (most of the time) in return.

3. Happy people don’t sweat the small stuff.

One of the biggest things happy people do differently compared to unhappy people is they let stuff go. Bad things happen to good people sometimes. Happy people realize this, are able to take things in stride, and move on. Unhappy people tend to dwell on minor inconveniences and issues, which can perpetuate feelings of sadness, guilt, resentment, greed, and anger.

4. Happy people take responsibility for their actions.

Happy people aren’t perfect, and they’re well aware of that. When they screw up, they admit it. They recognize their faults and work to improve on them. Unhappy people tend to blame others and always find an excuse why things aren’t going their way. Happy people, on the other hand, live by the mantra:

“There are two types of people in the world: those that do and those that make excuses why they don’t.”

5. Happy people surround themselves with other happy people.

happiness surrounding

    One defining characteristic of happy people is they tend to hang out with other happy people. Misery loves company, and unhappy people gravitate toward others who share their negative sentiments. If you’re struggling with a bout of sadness, depression, worry, or anger, spend more time with your happiest friends or family members. Chances are, you’ll find that their positive attitude rubs off on you.

    6. Happy people are honest with themselves and others.

    People who are happy often exhibit the virtues of honesty and trustworthiness. They would rather give you candid feedback, even when the truth hurts, and they expect the same in return. Happy people respect people who give them an honest opinion.

    7. Happy people show signs of happiness.



      This one may sound obvious but it’s a key differentiator between happy and unhappy people. Think about your happiest friends. Chances are, the mental image you form is of them smiling, laughing, and appearing genuinely happy. On the flip side, those who aren’t happy tend to look the part. Their posture may be slouched and you may perceive a lack of confidence.

      8. Happy people are passionate.

      Another thing happy people have in common is their ability to find their passions in life and pursue those passions to the fullest. Happy people have found what they’re looking for, and they spend their time doing what they love.

      9. Happy people see challenges as opportunities.

      Folks who are happy accept challenges and use them as opportunities to learn and grow. They turn negatives into positives and make the best out of seemingly bad situations. They don’t dwell on things that are out of their control; rather, they seek solutions and creative ways of overcoming obstacles.

      10. Happy people live in the present.

      While unhappy people tend to dwell on the past and worry about the future, happy people live in the moment. They are grateful for “the now” and focus their efforts on living life to the fullest in the present. Their philosophy is:


      There’s a reason it’s called “the present.” Because life is a gift.

      So if you’d like to bring a little more happiness into your life, think about the 10 principles above and how you can use them to make yourself better.

      Read Next