The Acceptance Stage of Grief: What You Need to Know to Move On

Last Update on February 23, 2024 : Published on February 25, 2024

“The pain of grief is just as much part of life as the joy of love; it is, perhaps, the price we pay for love, the cost of commitment.” — Colin Murray Parkes

Grief, like it or not, is a shared experience; none of us walk this path alone. It’s a deep and intimate experience that resonates with us all. Grief, in its wake, leaves us stranded on a rollercoaster of emotions, thoughts, and reactions that we’re never ready to accept. Among the five stages of grief, it’s acceptance that is hard to achieve, but also the only thing that gives us hope and peace.

Acceptance is more than just acknowledging a situation; it’s about making peace with it. In our lives, we come across many ups and downs – big or small – but without acceptance, we risk getting trapped in a loop of denial, anger, bargaining, and depression with no hope of moving on.

Acceptance is the key that allows us to open up our hearts and souls to release the grip of resistance, and find closure. But, how can we begin to accept a loss and move on without losing ourselves? Can acceptance truly help us heal and get the closure we need? Keep reading to find the answers!

The Acceptance Stage of Grief

The acceptance stage of grief is the last in the cycle of grief and marks a milestone in the grieving process. It’s the phase where we come to terms with the reality of our loss and begin to accept the void in our lives.

Contrary to popular belief, acceptance does not mean we forget the lost loved one or stop grieving entirely; rather, this stage marks a shift in our perspective. We begin to recognize that while the pain of the loss might never fully fade, there will always be moments of joy and meaning amid the sorrow in our lives.

During this stage of grief, you experience myriads of emotions. While there is no one common experience, there are some emotions that we all experience. Common emotions that surface during the acceptance stage of grief can include;

  • Calmness
  • Resignation
  • Gratitude
  • Relief

However, these emotions do not mean the absence of sadness, wistfulness, or longing; rather, they reflect a newfound ability to make space for all types of emotions without being overwhelmed by them.

The same goes for our thoughts during this stage of grief. During this stage, your thoughts can revolve around finding meaning in your life after the loss.

You might also experience thoughts, such as;

  • The lessons you learned from grief
  • The memories you created with the lost loved ones, and
  • The legacy they left behind

Again, while there might be moments of longing, acceptance can foster a sense of peace and understanding, allowing you to reflect on the now instead of the past.


Now, acceptance – just like any other experience – differs from person to person. Acceptance, for some, might be in the quiet embrace of a memento, while for others, it could be in the willingness to seek support from others.

Acceptance is a personal and intimate experience, but its essence is in coming to terms with the reality of the loss with compassion, kindness, and resilience.

How Acceptance During Grief Works

Acceptance is part of the grieving process, like a gradual unfolding of petals of awareness and understanding. This stage starts when you begin to shift your perspective and find moments of clarity in the chaos that is grief. Through self-reflection, compassion, and support from others, you can gradually come to accept the truth of your loss and find peace in the aftermath.

It’s a stage that can be marked by moments of struggle and triumph, setbacks and improvement, but in the end, it all leads to healing.

Again, like other stages of grief, there is no timeline for achieving acceptance. Your grief is personal to you, so it’s up to you how much time you take to reach the stage of acceptance. For some people, acceptance can be quick, while others might take months or years to reach that stage of grief.

How to Accept The Loss and Move on?

Reaching the acceptance stage of grief is a multi-faceted approach. While there cannot be a single solution for all, there are some strategies that can help you accept the reality of your loss, move on, and complete the cycle of grief;

1. Practice Self-Reflection

First, you must understand that it’s OK to take time for yourself and reflect on whatever you’re feeling. Practicing self-reflection can help you accept the loss. You can do this by journaling your thoughts, meditating on your emotions, or reaching out to a professional counselor for help. Just, take time to accept all the emotions you’re feeling.

2. Seek Support

Next, try to find support and love in your life through your friends and family. You can even join support groups for comfort, kindness, and a sense of belonging. Sharing your feelings and grief with others who’ve been through similar experiences can help ease the feeling of isolation and offer a safe space for expressing your emotions.

3. Be Kind to Yourself

You need to make sure you pay attention to your needs – physical, mental, and emotional – as you continue to grieve and accept the loss. Be gentle with yourself and take care of your needs. Treat yourself with the same kind of understanding that you would offer a loved one. If you need help, ask for it.

4. Honor Your Loved One

Another way you can accept the loss and complete the cycle of grief is through honoring your loved one. Find ways or activities that can help you honor the memory of your loved one and help you find meaning in life, once more. This could be achieved through volunteer work, expressive arts, or just spending time in nature. Just, engage in things that bring you comfort and joy in times of sorrow.

5. Look Forward to The Future

Whenever you feel ready to move on, start thinking about your future. I know it’s hard to think about any kind of future without the presence of your lost loved one, but doing this can help cement the acceptance stage. There could be guilt or sadness among the emotions, but with time, you can slowly come to the terms that this is it; it’s the reality and that’s how it’ll stay.

If your grief is interfering with your day-to-day tasks and is making it harder for you to face the reality of your loss, then you can seek support from a grief counselor. A professional can offer tools and perspectives to foster acceptance.

Wrap Up…

The acceptance stage of grief is not about letting go of your loved ones’ memories or forgetting the pain of your loss. It’s about finding peace amid the pain in your heart, honoring your loved one, and accepting the now as it is.

When you allow yourself to become intimate with grief with compassion and openness, you can begin to find comfort and solace in the knowledge that acceptance isn’t the end of grief, but the beginning of finding hope and love.

I hope this article helped you understand what is the acceptance stage of grief and how you can accept the reality of the loss, and move on. Let us know what you think about this article in the comments section below.

Take Care and Stay Strong!

About The Author

Swarnakshi Sharma
Swarnakshi Sharma

Swarnakshi is a content writer at Calm sage, who believes in a healthier lifestyle for mind and body. A fighter and survivor of depression, she strives to reach and help spread awareness on ending the stigma surrounding mental health issues. A spiritual person at heart, she believes in destiny and the power of Self. She is an avid reader and writer and likes to spend her free time baking and learning about world cultures.

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