There are seven steps to grieving, some of which are shock and denial, pain and guilt, anger and bargaining and depression. The latter stages of grief serve as a turning point to healing, and include the upward turn, reconstruction and working through, and acceptance and hope. Within these stages, there is a wide realm of normal, with many people vacillating between steps, occasionally experiencing more than one at a time and repeating steps out of order.
Shock and denial, the first stage, involves reacting to grief with dull disbelief. It is common to deny the loss at some level to avoid feeling pain. This may continue for weeks. The next step is pain and guilt, which typically happens after the initial shock wears off and replaces previous emotions with a deep hurt. While overwhelming, it is important to experience the pain completely rather than avoid it or mask it with substances.
Pain gives way to anger, leading some people to lash out and place unwarranted blame on another person. At the point people expect a grieving person to be over the event, the person is apt to experience a prolonged sad reflection. Once this passes, life becomes slightly more organized. As a person becomes more functional, he is able to seek realistic solutions to problems and begin reconstructing his life. During the last stage of grief, acceptance comes and a person is more able to deal appropriately with the situation.