This week my aunt, the youngest of my fathers’ sisters, died at 79 years old. Two older sisters are still alive, and her two older brothers (one my dad of course) are still alive. It is so strange that from a strong family the youngest died the first. Life. Doesn’t have to be fair, per se.
Yesterday I read a blogpost about a completely different subject, more about that next Friday, and it mentioned the seven stages of grief. These are well known by now. And as in any model ( a model is a simplification of a complex reality) miss Kübler-Ross has been criticized and even added two more stages to her original model: Shock or Disbelief and Guilt. I don’t care much that scientists find her model from 1969 outdated, I like simplifications of the big ugly world, to make it more comprehensible for myself. Because you can apply it not only with the death of a beloved, but also with so many other tragic moments in our lives.
The first reaction to a major disappointment or disaster in our lives is shock or disbelieve. A certain numbness when we cannot or don’t want to believe what we just heard. Feeling numb is like that “freeze” in the coping strategies. It cannot be true, this is not happening (to me). No, I just have seen her yesterday! No, other people get a divorce but not me, not us.
Denial refers to how you express your emotions surrounding grief. For example, a person who continually says, “I’m
fine,” after a life changing event is likely denying his or her feelings. We men have often trouble how to express our feelings, or we have been taught that we are the ones that people depend upon right now and that we have to be “the rock”. Denying our own feelings until we have the time to face them.Children can say after they have heard their parents are getting a divorce: “Mom and
Dad will stay together.”
is not a universal emotion during the grief process. Not all will go through this emotion in this stage. Some people become angry at themselves or the
person who left them or simply at the situation they are left to face
alone. It depends a lot on your character. But at some point we are bound to feel angry (“Fight” in coping strategy) related to the fact that we miss something we once had. Again, related to your character, this Anger could become an anger problem. Some people do not get passed this stage. Grief recovery coaching can provide a safe place to explore the anger and
help uncover the source of the anger.
refers to attempts to make a deal, often with God, to change the
situation. Elizabeth Kübler-Ross noted bargaining in her observations of
individuals dying from a terminal illness. Bargaining may not be so
frequent when a loved one has died, but is likely present in other
losses such as divorce, break up, job loss, home loss or other
transition, where there is some hope the situation could be changed by
an all-powerful God.
Guilt is not in the original “five stages”, but I have seen people feeling so guilty about the things they have said and done in the past, that they cannot overcome these feelings.You wished to turn back the clock and do some
things differently. It is very powerful, very common, and very, very, very self destructing. This is absolutely another area where grief coaching can be
helpful to give the griever a space to share their memories
and regrets in a supportive environment.
A depression is not (but often very similar symptoms of) a clinical depression. It is often described as a profound sadness. A natural human reaction to grief and loss.The partner left behind might feel discouraged that their bargaining plea did not convince the former partner to stay. Or sadness and hopelessness drug abusers feel when they are faced with the reality of living a life without their substance of choice.
Acceptance and Hope.
In the last stage of the 7 stages of grief one arrives at the belief
that although life will never be the same again after the loss, there is
hope that life will go on. Acceptance does not necessarily mean that a child after a divorce will be completely happy
again. The acceptance is just moving past the depression and starting to
accept the divorce. The sooner the parents start to move on from the
situation, the sooner the children can begin to accept the reality of
Like I said not all people go through these stages in this order, but as I am going towards the stages where goodbye’s will occur more frequent, because of my age it’s important to know these stages. It is important to correct the things I did wrong in my life, and say I am sorry about it. Now, when I have the chance. Ask for forgiveness. It’s important not to wait, so my depression state will be a healthy one. So I can move on to acceptance…