The Discovery Phase of "Shock"


My last article started a discussion about the first phase of the first stage of grief. Shock! The experience of being a medium has helped me identify at least four phases in the shock and disbelief area. The four phases of shock are the automatic, discovery, isolation, and numbness phases. In this article, I want to write about the second phase. It is in this phase that we take on new responsibilities and often gain perspective on the life of a person that was very close to us. Many times, we learn a lot about other surviving friends and family. This phase does not have to be negative but is often a mixed experience.

It is the second phase of discovery that a person may need to take on additional responsibilities. In the case of a spouse, the surviving spouse may need to start paying bills or handling the business interests of their partner. A person may need the assistance of a third party to assist in this area. Other responsibilities may include parenting duties. The loss of a child creates other challenges. Each situation is unique, but the daily routines of a person may change dramatically when they are in the discovery phase. It is added stress that could require a new perspective in a time when a griever is still adjusting to their loss.

Sometimes, the discovery phase can bring to light issues that were deferred or reveal secrets that can be hurtful. The revelations can vary from hidden illnesses, assets, prior marriages, unknown past behaviors, or even a hidden relationship that may not have been known. Other areas that can be discovered are being denied inheritance, loss of asset control, or the motives of others to gain control of an estate. Friendships and family dynamics change, and there can be a “jockeying” for position. In this phase, a person can learn who are their true friends or supporters. This can be a phase when “eyebrows are raised” due to the unexpected behavior of a person(s).

Friendships and families can become closer or completely fall apart. This area of shock and denial can overshadow the actual loss of life. Sometimes there are instances where there are attempts to gain an advantage over a grieving person without regard to their feelings or their rights! It can be the case that the bereaved party does not fully comprehend their vulnerabilities and they can lose assets they thought were theirs for the rest of their life. The revelations that are made often a surprise. Some bereaved individuals have “champions” come to the rescue but life-long issues can be created from the situation with those who were thought to be close.

The shock of loss is difficult enough to endure but the discovery phase of the first stage of grief can be a “double whammy” for a person. This phase can defer the emotional process from proceeding because the practical impact of a loss is in the process of being settled. Disputes and fighting may take precedence over the healing process from a major loss. A grieving person may be accustomed to talking to the loved one who is in spirit and when this person is not around, problem solving becomes another issue. The discovery phase can be very complicated based on the conditions of the loss.

It is not a surprise that bereavement can create new physical, psychological, and emotional conditions resulting from the discovery phase. Many clients come in for readings as they sort through the sobering reality of their new life. During a reading, many energies can present themselves and they include betrayal and compassion from people surrounding a person. The discovery process leads a saddened person to the next phase of the shock and denial stage of grief. This phase is isolation.


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