The loss of a loved one can come as a complete shock but even when they are sick and it is clear that their death is imminent, grieving the loss can be a long process and can be very painful. The range of emotions that you might undergo can seem like they will never pass completely and that life will never be the same again. This is very natural and grief does not have any set timeline but know that eventually, time will heal this wound and you will again be able to feel joy and pleasure.
You may encounter grief from loss other than death such a divorce, job loss, financial breakdown, retirement, ending a friendship or a number of other huge changes where loss is present. The experience is unique for everyone and can be impacted by your resilience, your access to support and your general coping style. It will not go away if you ignore it and in fact, that might make it impact you more strongly at a later date. Be patient with the process and let it unfold naturally and gradually. There is no need to act strong and there is no timeline or series of activities that you can perform to make it move more quickly. You must simply sit with it as it cycles through the gamut of emotions that you will sense through the process.
These feelings are said to come in stages although not in any necessary order and one can appreciate that they are moving forward as they recognize each stage as it arises. These stages are shock and denial, where one cannot believe that it is really happening; anger where they attempt to find someone or something to blame for the loss; bargaining where one might negotiate with spiritual forces to reverse the loss; depression where the sadness settles in and you feel the emptiness of the loss; and finally acceptance where you can be at peace with the loss. There is no fixed time period for any of the these and one may bounce back and forth from one to another throughout the course of grieving and it is not until you have arrived at acceptance where you will be able to feel that the grief has run its course.
A number of emotions are also quite common in the grieving process. One may feel numb and unable to accept the reality of the situation. Sadness is, of course, one of the most predominant emotions and one that people expect to feel in this situation. More surprising is often the anger one might experience and this can lead to guilt, both for the negative association with anger and for regrets you may have around the situation leading up to the loss.
If you feel that the grieving process is going beyond a timeframe that is comfortable for you and other aspects in your life are being affected by your grief, it might be a good idea to seek professional support or to join a support group where you can openly discuss the details of your process with others that can directly relate to it. This will normalize the progression for you and you will see that others have a special understanding of what you are going through, even though they may not know you. This can be a comfort in itself.
Most significantly, be kind to yourself. Take care of yourself physically and be patient about the length of the grief cycle. Let each feeling surface in its own time and do not attempt to suppress them. You will get through each one individually and eventually you will accept the loss and move forward to a more joyful life.