I need this book. The short review in ObitMag intrigued me.
Apparently, Elisabeth Kubler-Ross’ famous five stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance) were originally used to describe how one confronts one’s own impending death. It was not meant to be applied to how we react to the death of others. But when they were applied to the grieving process after Kubler-Ross published On Death and Dying in 1969, she did not protest.
Since then, grief has been viewed as a “journey” one must travel. And Konigsberg’s book suggests that an entire bereavement counseling industry was launched–because of course people need professional guidance through this journey.
Check out Konigsberg’s website.
What do you think? What happens when we apply a formula to grief? If you’ve experienced grief, did you go through the five-stage journey? What did your journey look like?
Tracy Lee Karner said:
Now I really can’t wait to read your memoir–you’re wiser than your chronological age. I think people who spend a lot of time around death, learn a lot of wisdom about about life, earlier.
I think the “stages of grief” book was helpful in giving us language to articulate things that previously were, for most of us, inarticulable. To associate denial and anger with death–at the time that Kubler-Ross wrote those things, was enlightening, and helpful.
But then, people made a ritual/religion/prescription out of it–that seems to be what groups of people always feel a need to do with a little bit of enlightenment.
I’ve experienced much grief, too many times to count. Every instance has been its own incredibly unique journey.
I used to think there might be a formula for coping with hardship; I no longer think so. Life continues to be, no matter how old I get or how much I’ve been through, a day by day adventure of flying by guess-and-by-gosh.
Tracy, I think there’s a danger in relying on formulas. I never thought about the formula aspect of the five stages until now. I did not become familiar with the five stages until I started writing my book, but I never spent any time applying them to my own experience. I guess even at the surface they didn’t seem to fit. Everyone has a unique experience and as you say, that experience can change depending on the loss. It may do people more harm than good to think they have to neatly fit into these five stages for every loss. But for some reason it seems to be human nature to want to apply to a template to life.
Cal Olson said:
Three-and-a-half years since my Mom died. I don’t think I’ve gotten very far on my journey. Not sure what the “destination” is supposed to be, I guess.
Thanks for commenting, Cal. I’m not sure it is a “journey,” since that implies some type of end or destination, like you say. I like the term “process” or “evolution,” because it’s ever-changing but does not end.
Lisa Simons said:
Rachael, thanks for sharing this book. I need to read it. I used Kubler-Ross’ five stages as a way to organize a chapter in my memoir. For me, just as some of the literature said, I didn’t go step-by-step because it doesn’t happen that way. Almost 40 years after the death of my dad, I still don’t have a step-by-step, keep going back and forth between all the stages. And I know there are stages in there I can’t even define, yet…
I thought of you, Lisa, because I remember this part of your manuscript. I think it’s definitely an iterative process, not as “neat” as a five-step, in-order process.
Have you looked at your manuscript lately? It needs to be out there in the world!