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The 7 Stages of Grief

In our last blog, we started the grieving process of the passing of Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and the seven other passengers that tragically passed away in an awful helicopter crash here in Los Angeles. In this blog, we are going to dive deeper into that grieving process and talk about how we can use that process to become “the very best of you,” so that you’ll be able to master a higher degree of self, one day at a time.

Grief is extremely difficult especially because of the array of emotions you can feel. To help guide you through this grieving process, we are going to go over the seven stages of grief. The most common model for the stages of grief includes the Kubler-Ross model which includes five stages. This model includes two stages that people often experience, and is known to be more inclusive.


Stage 1: Shock and Denial


Hearing awful news, especially with the learning of a loss, is naturally shocking. With Kobe, this was an accident and it was sudden and unexpected. Shock is not only mental, but it is also physical. Shock can make you feel sick and you might get shortness of breath. One reason why people feel denial after they hear shocking news is because they don’t want to feel pain. After the shock wears off and the reality sets in, so does the pain. Kobe’s death shocked the country. Many people had to read the headline to the news twice.


Stage 2: Pain and Guilt


Once that pain sets in, it sets in hard. It is important to note that although this pain can be excruciating, you should experience this pain to its fullest extent. This type of pain is unique and it will make you stronger. It is also important not to hide the fact that you are hurting. This allows people to know how you are feeling and then can help you through this process. Avoiding or rejecting the pain you’re feeling will only make things worse. This also goes along with trying to escape your pain with alcohol or drugs.

Along with the second stage comes the potential of feeling guilty. You may feel guilty or remorse over the things you might have said, done, or not have done to the one who has passed. In the sports world, there is a lot of trash talk and debate over “who’s the greatest player of all time,” but in this certain situation, especially with Kobe’s passing, it is important to step back and celebrate their life as a way to help handle the pain. It is important because this stage of pain and guilt often leads to anger.


Stage 3: Anger and Bargaining


This stage is usually a result of opening up a bottle of emotion. This stage is dangerous because people are often frustrated and sensitive. It is important to express how you feel, but also keep your emotions rational. Irrational bursts of emotion can have a lasting impact on existing relationships, and those relationships are important to help you get through this grieving process.

Another direction that people go is that they bargain for a way to escape their despair. This goes along with guilt. In our case with Kobe, you might have felt disdain for Kobe and talked badly about him and you might say something like “I’ll never trash talk another great player if you just bring him back.”

Stage 4: Depression, Reflection, and Loneliness


This stage is known as the stage where people on the outside of your grief believe that you should be over it by now. This is not the case. With this stage comes a long period of sadness and can overtake you. Like with stage 2 and pain, let yourself feel it. It is a human and natural feeling and coming out of it will make you better than you were yesterday. That’s what we’re all about here at Practice U.

During this time, you start to realize the true significance of your loss. For Kobe, a lot of people felt the true significance with the All-Star Weekend a few weeks ago. The players either wore number 24 for Kobe or number 2 for Gianna; the MVP trophy was named after him, called the “Kobe Bryant MVP Award;” and Kobe also was in 15 All-Star games. This impacted a lot of basketball fans including us at Practice U. After this stage, we finally start to see the upward turn.


Stage 5: The Upward Turn


This one is all in the name. Life without the person who was lost starts to become normal again. The reality already set in and you realize that life doesn’t stop for anybody. Life becomes clearer and more organized.


Stage 6: Reconstruction


This step embraces everything we strive for here at Practice U. We want everyone to be the best that can be. This means to be constantly improving every single day. This is the step where you start to remember all the good times and are truly thankful for the things they provided you in their life.


Step 7: Acceptance and Hope


Acceptance does not necessarily mean that you are going to be happy. This means you have accepted what has happened and nothing can change that. It is a harsh reality, but by this step, you have already realized that. Eventually, you will be able to look at the one you lost and not feel as much pain. Feeling sadness is natural, especially when losing a lost one. But life does not stop. Happiness, contentment, and nostalgic memories and moments live on as well.

Losing somebody is dreadful. The experience is a journey, to say the least. This is worth it though because you came out of grieving stronger than from when you went in. Here at Practice U, we love the notion of being the best self you can be. Nobody becomes greater without turmoil. One can not improve without struggling. Make sure you check out our apparel to carry the spirit of constant self-improvement.