Loss & Recovery

Grief Recovery Pyramid:

The emotion of sadness is a signal that you have experienced a loss. Learn to quickly and accurately recognize the emotion of sadness and use the energy it generates to help you take the appropriate action and move through grief recovery at a pace that is right for you.

In general, appropriately grieving loss episodes in your own life can increase the likelihood that you can truly help others deal and grieve effectively with their losses. Remember that you may circle back and forth or around the Grief Recovery Pyramid during the recovering process.


Grief Recovery Pyramid Stages:

  • Stage I_ Shock: Symptoms may last from a few days to several weeks and can include:

-          Agitation, confusion, collapse, crying

-          Denial or disbelief, euphoria or hysteria

-          Insomnia, lethargy or weakness

-          Loss of appetite, nausea

-          Numbness or unreality

Suggestions for action:

-          Feel and show grief, talk it out

-          Access your support system

-          Ask for help, allow others to help you

-          Do not make any major decisions

-          Rest and survive, avoid substance abuse

-          Be around living things, spend time in nature


  • Stage II_ Distress: Symptoms may last from a few weeks to two years and symptoms can include:

-          Anger, anguish, anxiety, crying, confusion, fear, guilty

-          A sense of hopelessness

-          Life seems to be in limbo

-          Insomnia, restlessness, mood swings

-          Irrational decision-making, poor judgment

-          Loneliness, isolation, low self- esteem

-          Pain, physical illness

-          Overeating, under eating, improper diet

-          Slowed thinking, suicidal thoughts

Suggestions for action:

-          Allow yourself to mourn

-          Beware of rebounding, seek and accept counseling

-          Acknowledge and verbalize emotional pain

-          Keep decision- making to a minimum, check with others

-          Get a physical examination

-          Avoid substance abuse

-          Accept the support and assistance of others

-          Return to career or volunteer work

-          Your brain is as unique as your thumbprint so heal at your own pace; try journaling

-          Plan for good nutrition

-          Get plenty of rest and exercise


·         Stage III_ Acceptance: Time lines vary for each individual. Symptoms can include:

-          Distress becomes less acute with only periodical crashes

-          Feel stronger and more energetic

-          Physical symptoms decrease

-          Nostalgia replaces emotional pain

-          Loneliness surfaces intermittently

-          Interest return

-          Are more comfortable with the self

-          Return to optimum functioning

Suggestions for action:

-          Avoid hanging onto the episode of loss

-          Talk about the person (if a death) with others to help keep his/her memory alive

-          Exercise consistently and pamper yourself regularly

-          Let go of what- ifs and might- have- been

-          Forgive yourself and others

-          Socialize

-          Be open to including new people

-          Develop new interests

-          Take control of your own life

-          Learn to act rather than react