Stages of Dying/Grief

UNDERSTANDING GRIEF

STAGES OF DYING/GRIEF

We are all unique and have individual responses to losses through death. Despite these differences, we share many common threads in the human tapestry of life. The commonalities do not follow a set time table or sequence and are best stated by Elizabeth Kubler Ross (1969) as the following "Stages of Grief"

Denial
    Is the initial response, and creates a numbness. Its purpose is to:
  1. Act as a buffer to unexpected news
  2. Be a temporary defense replaced by partial acceptance
  3. Sometimes is a necessary part of survival. 
Anger
    Is the anger experienced over the loss of the loved one, or the loss of control over ones life expectancy.
  1. Usually is displaced in all directions and projected into the environment, especially on caregivers and loved ones. 
  2. Is best dealt with by being empathetic and kind
  3. Is usually accompanied by increased demands by the individual
  4. Intensifies with issues of loss of control
Bargaining
    Is manifested by an attitude of bargaining with the prognosis: "If only I..."
  1. Is like entering an agreement to postpone the inevitable
  2. Seeking a reward for good behavior
  3. Sets a self imposed
Depression
    Is the realization that sepration, from loved ones is inevitable.
  1. Is manifested by numbness, stoicism, anger, and rage replaced with a sense of great loss
  2. There are many thoughts of what lies ahead, rather than behind
  3. Is a necessary and beneficial departure for acceptance and peace of mind
Acceptance
    Reconciliation and moving on
  1. The final rest before the long journey
  2. The circle of interest diminishes
  3. A stage void of feelings and struggle
Stages of grief and loss are experienced by both the patient and the caregivers. Often we will find them going through these stages in varying sequences.