Five stages of grief (also known as the Kubler-Ross model) is one of the most popular psychological theories which explained the set of responses which progresses as a learning curve when we lost a loved one. This concept was initially constructed to describe the possible experience that a person will go through after getting a terminal illness diagnosis in 1969. Not all of the people will undergo the same stages illustrated by this concept because grief is a complicated process which usually presented in a different pattern. After observing a few occurrences which shows similar patterns to this theory involving the loss of the loved one (friends and family), these stages were applied to the other situation where it is relevant.
This is the first stage that a person will experience when first they were informed about the death of their loved one, or he/she had a terminal diagnosis (cancer or anything which has a high mortality rate). Everything that occurs makes no sense to the one who hears the news. This is the part of the grief process which will aid coping with the bad news, and it is crucial for a healthy survival process. People see denial as rude or irrelevant emotional responses to the experience they have been through, but this is actually a robust response which indicates the starting point of the healing process. We would let in information as much as we could and started to question ourselves while struggling to accept our losses.
Feeling angry is not a bad thing. In the Kubler-Ross model, it is described as a typical healing response towards acceptance. It might felt endless, but it will slowly suppress with time. There are no boundaries to whom we felt this anger; sometimes, we are mad at our parents, siblings, friends, doctors, ourselves and God. If you are a believer, you might be asking and wondering, why the God has given us this retribution. You will feel abandoned, alone and deserted but according to Kubler-Ross, this is normal. When you lose someone, you thought that the world is empty, the colourful scenery became black and white, and everything seems so much depressing. Then comes anger which creates a structure which you constructed to fill in your emptiness and imposed an emotional response towards them. Anger is like a bridge which will connect the "empty you" to the "fulfilled you". The degree of rage would depend on the intensity of love you felt towards the loss one.
This is the "if only" stage. People who lose someone would start to feel guilty of the death and try to strike a temporary truce, hoping for the old life to return. If you've been diagnosed with lung cancer, you were hoping that you can return back to the first time you tried smoking and stop yourself. If you are dying because of a malignant form of cancer, you're hoping that you can return to a specific point of time so that a tumour can be discovered earlier. This stages often lasted for quite sometimes and it can take up to years. It will depend on the individual's response towards this stages. This stages often came with guilt. The "If only" is a form of self-blame which you would try your best to find a fault and how it should be done differently.
Feeling empty, and thought this would last forever is a normal response which indicates you are depressed. This kind of depression is not the same as the depression that has been described in the mental illnesses although the loss of the loved one can lead to the latter due to pathological responses towards grief. This stage is always perceived as unnatural which you have to snap out of it, but actually, you only have to be worried if you don't feel anything after the loss of the loved one. Being depressed is normal, and it is a natural healing process. It's necessary.
This is not synonymous with being okay. It's about accepting the painful fact that our loved one is dead and there is nothing in this world which can change that fact. It's permanent. We have to find a way to try and live with it. We must accept the fact that we're now live in a world without the one which has died, We must know how to manage our role in the society and try to take them. We need to start investing ourselves in the community and live again.
- David B. Feldman PhD (2017, July 07). Psychology Today. Why the Five Stages of Grief Are Wrong. Retrieved March 2, 2018, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/supersurvivors/201707/why-the-five-stages-grief-are-wrong
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