Swiss psychiatrist, Kübler-Ross’s book On Death and Dying introduced five stages of grief, a model based on her work with terminally ill patients. Those five stages are (1) Denial, (2) Anger, (3) Bargaining, (4) Depression (5) Acceptance. As a nursing student of what seemed a century ago, this was a part of my curriculum while studying; she was also terminally ill. I recall becoming immersed in the concepts she proposed as factual. I’m sure the grieving process doesn’t unfold in the exact order she offered, but the phases described reflect the average grieving process most of us go through.
At some point in all of our lives, we will experience the loss of a loved one. Each person grieved differently, so when someone’s response isn’t to our expectations at the initial phase of suffering a loss, they shouldn’t be judged or viewed harshly. So why am I writing on what some view as a macabre or dark subject? In less than two years, two phenomenal women that were an integral part of my life died. These women were like sunshine on a gloomy day. They were those who caught me before I fell; they were that rock that gave support. In recent days, it’s been challenging arriving at that place of acceptance. Their absence heightens the need to value and honor life in all its forms and stay engaged with those I love. As you read this, may you walk away with a renewed zeal for life, love and treat each day as a gift, and always remain emotionally present for yourself and others. Remember, today is here, but each hour is yet unfolding, and tomorrow isn’t promised; as to the future, its unknown becomes suspense that we hope will benefit us.