Grief is an intense and personal emotion. While others can sympathize, and even empathize, with you, they can never fully understand what you are going through. Many times, loved ones dealing with grief after losing someone don’t understand what they are going through either. It does help to know some of the stages of grief.

A common first stage of grief is denial or shock. Usually, this stage occurs just after you learn about a death and can last a few hours or a few weeks depending on your own emotions, your ties to the person and the situation of the death. You will likely feel numb about the situation or be unable to fully express your grief. You might be in denial that the death has occurred or feel guilty because you are not showing the “right” emotions.

This stage of grief can be very difficult, especially since you might be called upon to make important decisions about arrangements while you are still feeling this way. The next stage is pain and guilt. You might experience mood swings, exhaustion and survivors’ guilt. If you lost someone in a car accident that you were involved in, you might feel guilty for surviving when they did not. Reaching out to professionals and other loved ones during this stage can help you seek comfort and positive ways of dealing with grief.

Finally, you might go through anger and bitterness. This is especially true if you feel someone else was responsible for your loss, but anger is a normal stage in any grieving process. Surrounding yourself with calming and comforting people is a good idea at this stage.

If you lose someone in a fatal motor vehicle accident and believe someone else is at fault for the incident, then you might be able to seek compensation for your loss. While money will never solve the problems of grief or bring back your lost loved one, the legal process can help you get some answers and cover expenses so you can move on to happier stages in life.

Source: Caring.com, “Stages of Grief,” Melanie Haiken, accessed Sep. 22, 2015