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The five stages of grieving?

I’ve been lent a book by Kubler-Ross and Kessler called “On Grief and Grieving” which is apparently one of the standard texts in Bereavement Counselling. Their basic thesis is that there are five stages of grief

  1. Denial
  2. Anger
  3. Bargaining
  4. Depression
  5. Acceptance

Apparently people are expected to go through all five stages of grief so that they can come out the other side. Although there is small print saying basically “your mileage may vary”, the whole book reads to me as though it is trying to superimpose a standard pattern on what to me is a very individual situation.

I have to say that I do not recognise much of their canonical pattern in my own situation. I’m not in denial, am not angry at the situation and certainly am not trying to bargain with fate. I know perfectly well what has happened, that no one is to blame, and that it’s just one of those things that happen all too often.  Depression however I do recognise – I’ve been there since Chris was diagnosed two days before Christmas last year and still am. I don’t agree with the word “Acceptance” either for the final stage. “Accommodation” better fits what I aspire to – finding a way of living without him without forgetting what we meant to eachother.

I’ve always been wary of “one size fits all” self-help books, and reading this one hasn’t changed my opinion of the genre. I think I’ll just muddle on as best I can without trying to conform my feelings to some external regimented pattern.

{ 3 } Comments

  1. Alyssa | 28 November 2010 at 3:07 am | Permalink

    I found my way here via the Librivox website. I was so impressed with the reading done by “icyjumbo” and was going to post a thank you on the site.
    How sad I am to see by your posts that he has passed. I am so very sorry for your loss.
    Your blog is very interesting and I hope it helps you to write, as I’m sure it helps others to read.

  2. Gillian | 28 November 2010 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

    Hello Alyssa. I’m glad you enjoyed Chris’s reading. Which one in particular was it? I’ve not been able to listen to them myself yet – too painful. But I’m sure I will do so at some point in the future.

  3. Veronica | 30 November 2010 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    I think that you make a valid point, Gillian. I think that everyone’s experience of grief is different, and trying to equate it across the board is a pointless exercise. The depression is a tough one, as you know only too well. Hang in there; it will eventually shift. I know from experience what a hard battle that one is, but you will recover.

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  1. […] heard a very loud and scary bang. Funnily enough, I could better relate the so-called “five stages of grief” to my thought processes then, than I can to the bigger things going on in my […]