As humans we all experience many forms of loss; loss in the form of death, or loss in the form of no longer having a certain person in your life. Most of us experience both types of loss throughout the course of our lives, yet not many people realize that when someone of great importance leaves your life you go through the five stages of grief similar to if they were to have passed away. Whether the loss of a friend or significant other, if the person was important to you it will tear you apart, even if it was for the better.
The first stage you go through is denial. When that person leaves your life you may seem fine at first, but the morning after it happens you will wake up in total denial. At first, you're in a slight haze, and you don't actually remember that you lost this person the previous day. The haze goes away and you're hit by a ton of bricks. You're reminded of what happened. You'll tell yourself that it didn't happen. You'll say that this is all a terrible dream. You're sure that there is some sort of mistake. Your brain isn't telling you the correct information. You go to get out of bed and realize that your daily routine of seeing them is no longer something. They aren't a part of your life anymore. (I guarantee that this stage physically feels painful, you feel the loss in your core).
Next, anger will slap you in the face. You will realize the fact that you lost this person from your life is true, but just because you acknowledge that it happened doesn't mean you'll be happy about it. Anger will seep through your pores and spread through your body like wildfire. You won't understand why it happened. Nothing will make sense. All you'll want to do is get rid of the anger that runs through your veins like poison. You can physically lash out and hit the wall. You can try to release the black darkness verbally. But there's no anecdote to this venom. This disease must run its course before you can be cured. You will become infuriated by the fact that they are right across town, but are no longer a blip on your radar because things are over.
After anger is left lingering in minuscule amounts, the bargaining will begin. Everyone will bargain in different ways. Some will return to their lost person and try to reason with them to come back, pleading to them that they will change, "It'll be different this time" becomes their mantra. Others bargain with God or whomever they speak to. They will speak to their higher power and say "If I let them go, can x, y, and z happen?" Some just bargain with themselves. They tell themselves to let this one go because it's better in the long run. They'll come to terms with believing that this happened because something better is coming along.
The hardest stage is sadness. Eeyore is the epitome of this stage. This bout of depression will loom over you like a dark storm cloud. You will no longer find joy in the things that used to brighten up your day. Colors will seem dull. Food will be near-tasteless. I guarantee that this part will feel like it lasts the longest. It may be the stage that starts your path of grieving, and will most likely be semi-present in every other stage. You feel such a loss inside of you. You will feel pain down to your very core, the feeling of being sucker-punched is extremely likely. This stage will also be the hardest to get out of. You will no longer be angry by the fact that they're within minutes away, you will feel physical pain from their absence. When you feel like you're finally moving forward, it pulls you back into its dark depths like the riptide of an ocean.
The last step of acceptance is one that not everyone will reach. Depending on the person and the intensity of the relationship with your friend of significant other, this stage could come quite quickly, or may just be slightly out of reach forever. To accept that someone you held so close is now gone is a large pill to swallow. The other stages of grieving can be out of order, but they all must occur for acceptance to happen. This stage will feel like it is very close at times, but you will most likely regress to a previous stage because you mentally are not ready to accept the fact that this person is no longer around.
These stages of grief will differ from person to person, or even depending on the severity of the relationship to the person who has left. These feelings could take days, months, or even years. I myself am still stuck in a strange phase of limbo within the stages with many people from my past. These stages demand to be felt, so you truly can't ignore them. By ignoring them you prolong your suffering. You must first feel the pain of the wound before it can heal.