If your character experiences a traumatic or tragic event in their lives, it is not normal for them to shrug it off and bounce right back. This is especially true if the event happens at the beginning of your story (or even before your story starts), and the plot of the book is to show the character getting over that event. In this case it will help you to know the 7 Stages of Grief your character will have to go through in order to get back on their feet.

Stage 1: Shock and Denial – Numb disbelief; denial of reality.

Stage 2: Pain and Guilt – Emotional pain and remorse or guilt; life feels chaotic; things quickly become overwhelming.

Stage 3: Anger and Bargaining – Anger; misplacing blame; asking “why me”?

Stage 4: Depression, Reflection, and Loneliness – Isolating yourself; feelings of emptiness.

Stage 5: Upward Turn – Life starts to adjust; things become calmer and more organized.

Stage 6: Reconstruction and Working Through – Seeking realistic solutions to life, start rebuilding life.

Stage 7: Acceptance and Hope – Accept and deal with reality; start to find joy.