Religious Studies of Healthy Grief

Grief is the deep sorrow that people experience when they receive news about death, illness, or loss of property. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross model summarizes the stages that make up the grief process. The model states that people undergo grief in five main stages (Curry, 2011). This paper focuses on the five stages of grief as portrayed in the story of Job in Christianity and the Mustard seed story in Buddhism concerning the Kubler-Ross grief model.

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The grief process begins with denial. Denial is the state of disbelief following the sad news. Shock and rejection characterize this stage (Curry, 2011). In the Bible, Job could not believe he had lost all his property and children through calamities. In disbelief, he tore his garment and shaved his hair. Job then prayed to God, asking for compensation. The job was hopeful that God would restore the loss after prayers (Wiersbe, 2011). In the Mustard seed story, Kisa Gautami, a merchant’s wife, could not believe her boy-child had died. In disbelief, she carried the body in her arms, looking for someone to resurrect him. The Gautami’s efforts to have her son resurrected is proof that she was in denial about death (Kelly, 2011).

Anger is the second stage in the grief process. In this stage, the victim faces the reality that the loss has occurred. Most people become angry with those responsible for the loss (Curry, 2011). In the second trial, Job developed big open sores on his body. He angrily prayed, asking God why he had forsaken him to undergo such pain. This shows that Job was in anger with God (Kushner, 2012). In the Mustard seed story, Gautami expressed anger when she cried loudly in the streets. Crying was proof that Gautami was in deep anger (Kelly, 2011).

The third stage in the grief process is bargaining. The Victims feel helpless and usually turn to God or the community for help (Curry, 2011). For instance, when Job was lying in the heap of ash, he bargained with God to restore his health and wealth. On the other hand, Gautami’s effort to look for Buddha to resurrect her child was a bargain. She also volunteered to search for five mustard seeds from five families that had never experienced death but in vain. This shows that Gautami was ready to bargain for the resurrection of his son (Kelly, 2011).

Depression is the next stage in the grief process. The affected are now hopeless that the loss can be recovered. Depression is manifested through loneliness, mourning, regrets, and sadness (Curry, 2011). The job was in great depression when he lied in the heap of ash since he did not listen to the three people who were tempting his faith. He further asked God to rescue him before he could die (Wiersbe, 2011). Gautami was in depression when she realized that no family had never experienced death. She became hopeless and continued mourning (Kelly, 2011).

The final stage in the Kubler-Ross model is acceptance. Composure and withdrawal dominate this stage. The victims cope with the loss to facilitate healing (Curry, 2011). For instance, after Job prayed in vain, he finally gave up and waited for death. He once said that his spirit was broken and he was heading to the grave. This shows he had accepted the situation (Wiersbe, 2011). On the other hand, Gautami accepted that her son had died when Buddha taught her that death is irreversible. By taking her dead child away and later becoming Buddha’s follower proved that she had accepted the death (Kelly, 2011).

Job and Gautami’s stories are contrasted to their previous joyous moments. Job had a lot of property hence lived happily with his wife and children. Later, he became miserably after he lost his wealth, children, and health. Lying in the ash heap further increased Job’s misery (Kushner, 2012). Kisa Gautami lived a joyous life before the death of her only child. When her son died, crying in the streets while looking for help changed her joyous life to misery. The two incidents show how joyous families were suddenly turned into misery (Kelly, 2011).

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Before this research, I had a different approach to grief. I believed that when I shared my grief with others, they will just provide mere opinions that may not be helpful. Also, I thought to blame, accusing, and attacking the person responsible for the loss was the best way to handle grief. However, this research has changed my perception altogether. From the story of Job, I have learned that remaining faithful to God despite many temptations. I have also learned to maintain my principles and remain hopeful even during grief. Gautami’s attempt to look for a solution in the streets and from Buddha himself has taught me to involve other people in my grief (Kelly, 2011). This is after she received assurance from Buddha that death is natural and uncontrollable. In summary, I have learned to persist and seek help during grief.


Curry, K. C. (2011). The deaccreditation of Compton Community College an interpretation through the Kubler-Ross grief construct. Irvine, Calif: University of California. Web.

Kelly, P. (2011). The Mustard Seed. Luton, UK: Dash Ltd. Web.

Kushner, H. S. (2012). The book of Job: when bad things happened to a good person. New York, NY: Schocken Books. Web.

Wiersbe, W. W. (2011). Job waiting on God in difficult times. Colorado Springs, CO: David C. Cook. Web.

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