I loved reading this article from a very competent grief therapist in this ongoing New York Times series on therapy:
Grief is not something that needs to unfold in a predictable way. In general, the field has moved away from a strict “stages of grief” paradigm popularized by the Kubler-Ross model (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance) to a more fluid view. While some people will go through these stages, other will not experience every stage, and perhaps not in that order, with them overlapping in waves. One can be accepting of loss one moment and then swept away into other “earlier” stages again.
The painful part is thinking we have done something wrong if this hasn’t happened, and even more so when we and/or the people around us don’t understand why we haven’t “gotten over it” in a socially acceptable time frame. This leads us to have to hide our grief, act like everything is OK, and stop seeking the support we need.
What’s the right way to do grief? However it happens for you. Perhaps the most important thing is to learn not to resist our grief, whatever it looks like, and allow others around us to do the same.
I think the grief therapist in this article gets that, and is therefore able to transmit it to the client. We should all be so fortunate to have someone in our life like that when we are faced with loss, which we inevitably will.