Five Stages of Grief – Stage One – Denial


It can happen to anyone

Refusing to believe

That which is there in front of me

I’m choosing not to comprehend

An odd way to defend

Somethings torn that I cannot mend

It can’t be happening

Not to me

Perhaps someone else

Another somebody

But not to me, can’t you see

My eyes are closed

So it can’t be real

My defenses raised

So I cannot feel

It can’t be real

There must be a loophole

My subconscious in control

Repressive, only to withhold

That which I’m not ready for

News that put me on the floor

When I hid behind the closed door

Tragedy cut me to the core

I begged for silence

To hear no more

But the shouting grew inside my head

The voices whispering about the dead

I tried to shut them out

As they continued to shout

Confused to what it was about

Just wanting to bail out

So away I found somewhere to hide

Didn’t wander, just sunk inside

My mind a sheltered place

Outside of time, outside of space

Where nothing comes unless I say

My perfect mental hideaway

Negativity banned

Head in the sand

Regardless of the wasted energy

Hiding what I need to see

Loss and grief are normal, or so they say

Yet, today I’m running away

Withdrawn and isolated

Eyes bloodshot and dilated

Afraid of what’s in store

Uncertainly that’s for sure

Chances are there’s no cure

Not really ready to open that door


Author’s Note

This piece is the first in a series that encompasses the five stages of grief – they are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and finally acceptance.  The analysis of human experiences, especially when it comes to how we deal with emotional tragedies, leads to discoveries that are unlike anything else known to humankind.  It is with the utmost reverence and respect for those who are currently experiencing any of these stages that I’m undertaking this delicate series of poems.  I hope that in some small way, they help someone, anyone, to find the strength to take the next step toward healing and eventually reaching inner peace.



Latest posts by R J Schwartz (see all)

R J Schwartz

I write about everything and sometimes nothing at all. I'm fascinated by old things, rusty things, abandoned places, or anywhere that a secret might be unearthed. I'm passionate about history and many of my pieces are anchored in one concept of time or another. I've always been a writer, dating back to my youth, but the last decade has been a time of growth for me. I'm continually pushing the limitations of vocabulary, syntax, and descriptive phrasing.

5 thoughts on “Five Stages of Grief – Stage One – Denial

  • March 29, 2017 at 9:22 PM

    That first stage of grief is a protection till we are ready to accept the truth. It is a subconscious flag to save us from the deepest of pain. When my eldest brother died I embraced denial – I just could not accept that he was gone. You have portrayed this stage so very well, Ralph. Great work.

  • March 29, 2017 at 11:06 PM

    Thanks Phyllis – I’ve just completed the series and posted each one. Writing these has been so difficult and I found myself tearful as I tried to become one with the work; I’m exhausted but feeling very satisfied.

    • March 29, 2017 at 11:17 PM

      That is good you feel good about it, Ralph. I understand how tearful it can be. I have tried to write on coping with grief and know just how difficult it is, I couldn’t do it. It must be a healing experience for you, too.

  • March 29, 2017 at 11:33 PM

    I’d love to hear your thoughts on the complete body of work if you have a chance to read it all the way through. It’s lengthy, but I feel captures the complete cycle through the phases and I’ve tried to add some details that connect the dots, so to speak.


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