Stages of the Mourning Process

48 hrs. - 2 wks * Shock and Numbness

  1. Resists input (trying to find shelter).
  2. Judgment - difficulty making decisions, concentration limited.
  3. Functioning impeded ("zombie/robot").
  4. Emotional outbursts.
  5. Stunned feelings.

2 wks - 4 months * Searching and Yearning

  1. Very sensitive to stimuli.
  2. Anger and/or feelings of guilt.
  3. Feeling restless or impatient.
  4. Feeling uncertain.
  5. Testing what is real.

4 months - 7 months * Disorientation

  1. Disorganization.
  2. Depression.
  3. Guilt.
  4. Weight loss or gain of more than 10 pounds.
  5. Aware of reality:
    1. Very aware of reality
    2. Time of turning to a physician.
    3. Psychosomatic dimension (colds, etc.).
    4. Temptation to see mourning as a disease.
    5. Low compliance with doctors' orders. Noncompliance with other expectations.
    6. Beware of trying to live as if nothing had happened.
    7. Beware of the urge to flee-strong sense of loss.

18 months - 24 months * Reorganization

  1. Sense of release (no longer obsessed by loss).
  2. Renewed energy.
  3. Make judgments more easily.
  4. Stable sleeping and eating habits.

Behavior characteristics often overlap and survivors may find the process prolonged.

SOURCE: Sacramento County Victim/Witness Assistance Program