Death and Dying The Five Stages

Posted On: Thursday, October 11th, 2012 at 6:52 am

Losing a loved one is perhaps, one of the most difficult aspects of life. Here are the five stages that are part of the grieving process and how to deal with these emotions.

The Five Stages of Death and Dying: According to Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

Denial and Isolation
Anger
Bargaining
Depression
Acceptance
Elisabeth Kubler-Ross originally wrote her book, On Death and Dying, for the terminally ill. Yet, her book also touches on the various stages of grief for those who have suffered a loss in their lives. These losses can range from the loss of a marital relationship to the loss of a child, to the loss of a parent to death.

The stages can overlap, go backwards and forwards, while individual stages may be skipped altogether.

Here are a few tips that may help you or a loved one who is terminally ill or grieving. (Thanks to the San Diego Hospice and Bereavement Department)

Denial and Isolation
First of all, allow the denial to be expressed, yet do not reinforce it.

Encourage talking and exploration of feelings – whether you are the one who is grieving or whether someone else is grieving their own terminal illness, do not block of any expressions of emotion with perfunctory feel-good statements.

Do not avoid the grieving person because of your own fears, do not be afraid to call a friend and talk if you are the one who is grieving … while denial and isolation are normal, don’t go so far that the isolation and denial become unhealthy. Reach out to family and friends, be honest, it’s okay.
Anger
It is important to respect and accept the angry feelings that may arise, seemingly out of the blue. Do not get even more angry about the anger, of respond to the angry patient or bereaved with additional irritation and anger. Be tolerant.

Do not take things, especially anger, personally. Do not be afraid of the anger either, it is normal to be angry when facing death or in mourning. Allow the anger to express itself.
Bargaining
Understand the bargaining process, express or listen, and recognize the importance of the bargaining.

Do not belittle or ridicule the bargaining and beware of the guilty feelings that may arise.
Depression
Accept the depression, allowing tears and sadness while acknowledging anguish and anxiety.

Present realistic positives, but do not use hollow cheerfulness.

Hug, be affectionate, and communicate or sit peacefully in silence.

Encourage sharing and do not be afraid to show feelings.
Acceptance
For someone who is terminally ill, let him or her be (but not alone) and recognize the need for increased amounts of sleep.

Do not encourage a fight back if the person cannot go any further and be aware of a diminished circle of interest

For others who are grieving, accept this as part of the process, not as forgetting the person or completely letting go. Recognize the goodness in accepting the situation as it is.

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