At some point, during their lifetime, individual may encounter different circumstances, which bring them a great deal of pain. This sentiment could be due to death of a loved one such as a parent, child or partner. Correspondingly, terminally ill patients may harbor feelings of loss upon realization that their time on the Earth is limited. In order to understand her own grief, Elizabeth Kubler- Ross developed a five-step process that facilitates the understanding of how individuals cope with different fatalities in their lives (Cohen 220).
However, Philips notes that Kubler- Ross’s process is just a basic model; therefore, it is not necessarily that an individual follows through these stages sequentially. In addition, grieving process vary from one individual to the other (22). Consequently, this essay will portray the relevance of Elizabeth Kubler- Ross model to my personal experience following loss of a loved one.
The initial stage is denial. During this stage, the bereaved individual is in a state of shock and refutes the notion that a loved one is no more (Kubler-Ross & Kessler 50). The duration that an individual remain in denial differs from person to person. While some individuals may take a few hours, others remain in denial for a considerable length of time (51). For instance, when my high school friend died in a road accident, it took me more than seven days to get out of denial. I kept telling myself that “it cannot be happening”, since I had spoken to her on phone only two days before the accident.
The second stage is anger. At this stage, the bereaved tries to direct the blame of their misery to oneself, God, the deceased, friends and family members (Cohen 220). This anger is neither logical nor valid, but Kubler-Ross and Kessler underscore that, it is highly significant because when an individual gets through the anger, the healing process begins (50). Although I believe that God has a reason for every situation, my friend’s death made me question God severally. I could not understand why He could let my friend die in a road accident, while she was so full of life.
The bargaining stage involves negotiation with God or a doctor, whereby the concerned party is desperate to save a dying person’s life (Philips 22). For instance, if a child goes into a coma following a fall from the balcony, a mother may plead with God and doctors to save the child’s life, even if prognosis is very poor. Cohen underscores that, in such a situation, doctors should avoid giving false hope (221). Instead, the facts should be presented as they are; although, this openness may lead an individual to the next stage of depression (Cohen 221).
As reality of death sinks in, the person may or may not fall into depression. Cohen underscores that, various factors such as: level of support, history of depression, and the number of times the person has been bereaved determines whether an individual will fall into depression or not (221). To revisit my case study, owing to far-reaching support from my family, I never entertained depressive thoughts.
After undergoing the bereavement process, I accepted that my friend’s death was irreversible. During this stage, a person learns how to carry on with life, in spite of the calamity that has befallen them (Philips 22).
In a nutshell, it is imperative to mention that, grieving process is full of complexities. Of importance to note is that, grieving has no limitation of time and some individuals’ may take a lifetime to come to terms with death of a love one.
Cohen, Lisa J. The Handy Psychology Answer Book. Detroit, MI: Visible Ink Press, 2011. Print.
Kubler-Ross, Elizabeth & Kessler, David. On grief and grieving: finding the meaning of grief through the five stages of loss. New York, NY: Simon and Schuster, 2005. Print.
Philips, Tracy A. Losing Someone You Love: Dealing with Death and Dying. Berkeley Heights, NJ: Enslow Publishers, Inc., 2009. Print.