Article on bereavement and grief from the website of the Galway Diocese

I found this article (PDF) a good, clear, wise and down-to-earth piece on grief. There is no particular religious content to the article, aside from the framing device of the month of November being a month of remembrance – an association with secular as well as religious overtones.

The article is especially good on the limits of Kubler-Ross’ Four Stages:

 

In 1969, psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross introduced what became known as the “five stages of grief.” Denial: “This can’t be happening to me.”Anger: “Why is this happening? Who is to blame?” Bargaining: “Make this not happen, and in return I will ____.” Depression: “I’m too sad to do anything.” Acceptance: “I’m at peace with what happened.”

If you are experiencing any of these emotions following a loss, it may help to know that your reaction is natural and that you’ll heal in time. However, not everyone who is grieving goes through all of these stages – and that’s okay. Contrary to popular belief, you do not have to go through each stage in order to heal. In fact, some people resolve their grief without going through any of these stages. And if you do go through these stages of grief, you probably won’t experience them in a neat, sequential order, so don’t worry about what you “should” be feeling or which stage you’re supposed to be in.

Kübler-Ross herself never intended for these stages to be a rigid framework that applies to everyone who mourns. In her last book before her death in 2004, she said of the five stages of grief, “They were never meant to help tuck messy emotions into neat packages. They are responses to loss that many people have, but there is not a typical response to loss, as there is no typical loss. Our grieving is as individual as our lives.

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