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Grieving Process and Its Stages


Elizabeth Kubler-Ross argues that human beings go through five systematic stages of grieving. These stages are not static in their occurrence (Klass & Walter, 2001). Sometimes they do not occur in the order she arranges them. She arrived at her conclusion after working with individuals suffering from different terminal illnesses.

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The stages of the grieving process she proposes are almost similar to what Job in a biblical story experienced. According to Kubler-Ross, grief entails denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance (Kübler-Ross, 1969). This paper compares and contrasts the grieving process to Job’s experiences. In addition, it analyses the relationship between joy and the grieving model.

Comparison between Kubler-Ross’ Definition and the story of Job

Kubler-Ross’ description of the grieving process resembles Job’s experiences in the bible. During his grief, Job went through stages that were exactly similar to the ones Kubler-Ross describes. He went through the denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance stages (Kübler-Ross, 1969).

During the denial stage, job ignored the reality by blessing God instead of cursing Him for causing him many problems. Satan killed all his animals, sons and daughters at the same time. Job reacted by tearing his rob, shaving his head and worshipping God (King James Version, Job 1:20-22). He declared in front of his servants that he did not come to this world with anything and would not leave the world with anything. This reaction is similar to the experiences individuals encounter in the denial stage as Kubler-Ross.

When troubles overwhelmed him, he decided to protest against God for letting him go through many difficulties. He questioned God for letting worms attack his skin. He also wished he could sleep and wake up to find no problem in the world. In Job 7:4, he said, “When I lie down, I say, when shall I arise, and the night be gone.” He went further to say, “my flesh is clothed with worms and clouds of dust…” (7:5).These statements demonstrate Job’s anger towards God for letting him suffer.

Just as in the bargaining stage of the grieving process, Job wished human life could be repairable like the lives of plants. In Job 14:7, Job said, “For there is hope for a tree, if it be cut down, that it will sprout again.” In verse 10, he said, “but man dieth and wasteth away.”

Job also experienced depression just as Kubler-Ross describes in her fourth stage of the grieving process. Job exhibited the loss of interest in life. He was ready to die and even asked God to let him die faster.

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In chapter 7: 16, he said, “I loathe it, I would not live always: let me alone for my days are vanity.” In the end, job accepted his situation and thanked God for everything He had done for him. In Job 9: 4, he said, “he is wise in heart and mighty in strength.” His change of attitude towards God satisfies the characteristics of the acceptance stage of grieving.

Difference between Kubler-Ross’s Model and the Story of Job

There are no many differences between Kubler-Ross’s model of grieving and the story of Job. The only visible difference is the difficulty in delineating the anger, bargaining and depression stages in Job’s story. Job exhibited almost similar symptoms in all these three stages. The overriding feeling in all of them was Job’s lack of interest in life.

Relationship between Joy and the Grieving Model

Joy and grief are sometimes inseparable (Sandman, 2005). They always interact in the process of helping individuals recover from the loss of their close friends or relatives (Kübler-Ross, & Kessler, 2005). Joy and grief mingle in the form of nostalgic memories of departed loved ones.

In the process of remembering them, individuals overcome their grief through remembering the good times they spent with the departed. Such memories are very crucial in inducing the acceptance stage of the grieving model.

They help the affected individual accept the loss (Reinbeck, 2010). For example, a man who lost his wife may remember the events that happened during their wedding or honeymoon. These good memories will help him forget his grief and move on with his life.

Impact of this Research on my Preferred Method of Handling Grief

I always prefer accepting my losses immediately they happen. I always never see the need to cry over a loss for the whole of my life. I took up this attitude because I realized that grieving for a long time does not change anything. It does not bring back my deceased friends or relatives. However, my research has made me change my attitude towards grief. I now know that I have not been effectively handling my grief. My research showed me that it is healthy to go through the processes of grieving from the first step to the last one.


Grieving is a process that involve five stages. Individuals should go through all these five stages to effectively deal with grief. The biblical character, Job, went through all the five stages when he lost everything he valued in life. He ignored the reality but later accepted it and God rewarded him with more wealth.

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Klass, D., & Walter, T. (2001). Processes of grieving: How bonds are continued. American Psychological Association.

Kübler-Ross, E. (1969). On death and dying. [New York]: Macmillan.

Kübler-Ross, E., & Kessler, D. (2005). On grief and grieving. New York: Scribner.

Reinecke, M. (2010). Little ways to keep calm and carry on. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger Publications.

Sandman, L. (2005). A good death. Maidenhead, Berks: Open University Press.

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