5 Stages of Grief
Kubler Ross and the 5 Stages of Grief
The 5 Stages of Grief are a result of the works of Kubler Ross. Kubler Ross did extensive research on death and dying in working with the terminally ill. The 5 Stages of Grief are in no way meant to be considered indicative of grief or the grieving process. Kubler Ross merely pointed out the commonalities she observed during her work with the terminally ill.
I should also point out that the 5 Stages of Grief should not be considered milestones or viewed as necessary for a healthy grieving experience or grief recovery. Everyone grieves differently. Some may experience all 5 stages of grief, while others may only experience a few, and some may not experience any at all.
The 5 Stages of Grief are reported to be denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. This is the general order that Kubler Ross identified though there is no real order as stated that some may experience the 5 stages of grief to varying degrees and in a different sequence.
Denial Stage of Grief
It can be difficult to come to terms with our, or a loved ones mortality. When initially facing death or hearing a loved one is in the process of dying, denial is a natural experience.
Denial may come in the form of shock or disbelief. Denial may also occur on an emotional level as many mask their emotions or are unable to decipher and come to terms with emotions. This can be a difficult stage and some may continue to revisit this stage while going through the 5 stages of grief.
Anger Stage of Grief
Anger is a natural reaction and is much easier to feel at the moment of discovering you or a loved one is going to die. Anger can also be trans-formative and assist in the healing process.
In order to become transformative, someone must be able to move through the 5 stages of grief to get to a place of acceptance. While being in the anger stage of grief, this can seem nearly impossible as anger tends to block out all rationality and other emotions.
Bargaining Stage of Grief
Although we know that bargaining may seem irrational, it is a common occurrence among the 5 Stages of Grief. This could include turning to faith (which I am personally not discounting) or trying to bargain with medical staff, yourself, or a loved one.
We may attempt to bargain with those we feel somehow directly or indirectly responsible for our grief or for the loss. As stated, when people move throughout the 5 stages of grief, they may periodically return to a particular stage. When going through the bargaining stage, it is often quite natural for the person grieving to return to anger.
Depression Stage of Grief
None of us want to lose a loved one or face death unexpectedly ourselves. Depression is the result of realizing that we or a loved one are going to die. Moving through depression is vital for healing to take place.
There are certain instances when depression can turn to what is often deemed as complicated grief. This happens when a person is just unable to successfully grieve based on circumstances surrounding the death or loss, the nature of the relationship, and various other reasons.
The important thing when going through the depression stage of grief is to find support. This may come in the form of talking with a loved one, reaching out to a friend or confidant, seeking spiritual guidance from a preacher or other person you trust, and seeking professional help.
If you or someone you know is having a difficult time with grieving, please seek professional help. There is no shame in consulting with a mental health or medical professional on grief or depression relating to grief.
Acceptance Stage of Grief
Getting to a place of acceptance can happen quickly for some or not at all for others. However, acceptance allows us to heal, make peace, and celebrate the gift of life even in those final moments.
Many of us may struggle with acceptance as it can sort of feel like we are letting that person go. However, acceptance is about moving forward in life in spite of our sorrow. We will never forget our loved one and may always carry the hurt inside. Though, acceptance allows us to still hurt but go on with life.
Acceptance may be rational as well as emotional. Each of us grieves uniquely and thus will all have seperate experiences with what acceptance means to us.
Final Thoughts on the 5 Stages of Grief
I have given a brief overview of the 5 Stages of Grief. However, I will cover these stages and other theories on grief throughout this website. For more information on the 5 Stages of Grief, I recommend On Grief and Grieving by Kubler Ross, available through Amazon at the link provided below. Thank you for taking the time to view the 5 Stages of Grief and Loss, I hope that it can be a place for information, resources, and support.
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