The last stages of the grieving process are depression and acceptance. Here are links to my posts on denial, anger, and guilt. As always, these emotions are perfectly normal at this time, but if your depression is debilitating, please seek professional help.
Depression During the Grieving Process
You can expect to be depressed for a while. You may have trouble sleeping, lose your appetite, and feel lethargic and sad. Little things will probably send you over the edge at times. You may not feel like being around others, but this can be dangerous-don’t close yourself off. I tended to keep to myself too much and it only makes your sadness worse.
After awhile, these symptoms should lessen somewhat. You’ll still occasionally feel all of these things during the grieving process, but as long as you’re able to function except for the occasional day, you’re probably normal.
It’s hard to put a time frame on how long you’ll be depressed because everyone is different and it also depends on the relationship you had with the loved one. If, for example, it’s your partner, you’re probably going to be grieving for the lost plans for the future that you had with them, too. That’s what happened to me. But once you’re able to get past that (acceptance), you’ll find that eventually you can make new plans for your future.
I’m by no means an expert, but in my opinion, if your depression lasts for several months with no lessening, then you should see a doctor to make sure you haven’t fallen into a major depression. Here’s a link to an article that has more information on that.
As hard as it is to believe when you’re loss is new, one day you will reach acceptance of the situation and find ways to begin to live life, hopefully on your own terms. You’ll always miss them, but you have to move on eventually.
I still think about my husband and my boyfriend every day, but for the most part, my thoughts aren’t sad. You’ll find that the dark times are less and less and when they do pay you a visit, it’s much easier to overcome and continue on with your day.
Eventually, you are going to start enjoying some of the things you used to enjoy and may even get excited over plans for your new life. If that’s the case, be happy, don’t let guilt get in your way. It’s okay to live your life. That’s what they would want.
Moving on doesn’t mean that you should forget your loved one; far from it. My boyfriend was 9 years older than me and in bad health. He knew that he’d die before me and he told me that he didn’t want me to sit at home and pine away for him. He wanted me to get out there and be happy. I’ve tried to honor that wish, and I guess you could say that I’m grateful to him for his “permission”.
With that said, I’m not really sure if the grieving process is ever truly over. You may always deal with some of these stages, but it won’t be as severe. And you CAN be happy again.