Going Through The Five Stages of Grief

June 22, 2010 by  
Filed under Blog

The more we define ourselves as part of a specific group or type, the more we can relish a shared reality. ~George A. Bonanno

I look around and see a world full of hope. Friends dealing with life, looking for direction, wishing they had a blueprint for which way to turn. I have nights when I can’t go to sleep, then mornings I don’t want to get up. I pray for my family, friends, and for myself, to have courage, confidence, wisdom, and balance.

Psychologist George A. Bonanno has written a book based on research for those going through the death of a loved one. “The Other Side of Sadness: What the New Science of Bereavement Tells us About Life After Loss” talks about one’s capacity for resilience, the ability to thrive in the face of adversity. Filled with the words of bereaved individuals, the reader can’t help but be touched and learn from their journey through loss.

I knew that Helen Kübler-Ross’s five stages of grief model was initially developed for helping dying patients cope with death and bereavement. Denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. For years those five steps have been linked with grief support counseling, as well as emotional response to trauma. Definite stages of emotion that I experienced when my husband got sick. I dealt with denial, anger and bargaining especially when his congestive heart failure accelerated and he was accepted as a candidate for a heart transplant. Depression, absolutely.  Acceptance? Now this is challenging. I do accept that he’d physically gone, yet is “he” gone?

I had an experience a few nights ago as I was looking through my husband’s cds.  He always talked about having to listen to an entire cd to hear one or two specific songs. So on February 2007 we burned two cds, of songs by his favorite male and female artists. I had totally forgotten about this but listening to them now has given me a sense of comfort. This happened at a time when I had been reaching deep inside for strength.

There are times I feel my husband is still protecting me. He always told me I was hurting myself through often compromising my needs and continually tried to teach me how to set limits. Recently I’ve gone through several situations that made me think how he would suggest I handle things and I found myself having confidence, to take action, and stand up for myself, focus and expand my capacity for resilience. Something I know I desperately need. I think we all do.