About this blog

The intent of this blog is to form an interactive community where parents of dead babies can come together and swap information, stories, tears, memories and encouragement. This is designed to be a neutral place. We are not religious nor are we anti-religious. Come as you are. You can sign the guest book, add your baby(ies) to the baby name memory list, review books on infant death, add warnings about movies and books that contain a dead baby, add your blog to our directory or a number of other things. Don't hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or would like to see something added to this blog. Rule One: be kind to each other. We're all in this together. We all suffer and miss our babies madly.

What's New?

If you are new to blogging and would like to be featured please let us know! Looking for parents who are new to this community and are looking for some peer support.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The 5 Stages of Grief

As many people who are nose deep in grief have assuredly heard, there is a theory that there are five stages of grief. Some argue seven. Some even say that we go through the stages, sometimes in a different order, and usually repeat a few or experience them at the same time. There is a lot of speculation on the topic. Below is an article on the Kübler-Ross model that deals mainly with folks who are dying themselves, but has been widely accepted to include those involved in any catastrophic loss (such as the death of a child). At the bottom of the article you will find links to other articles or sites that seem relevant. Please note that "the views and opinions stated in this article may not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of this blog" yada, yada. You get the point, I'm just trying to offer up some info to help us all make a little more sense of what we are experiencing.


The Kübler-Ross model, commonly known as the five stages of grief, was first introduced by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross in her 1969 book "On Death and Dying". It describes, in five discrete stages, a process by which people allegedly deal with grief and tragedy, especially when diagnosed with a terminal illness or catastrophic loss. In addition to this, her book brought mainstream awareness to the sensitivity required for better treatment of individuals who are dealing with a fatal disease.

1) Denial:
Denial is usually only a temporary defense for the individual. This feeling is generally replaced with heightened awareness of situations and individuals that will be left behind after death.
Example - "I feel fine."; "This can't be happening, not to me."
2) Anger:
Once in the second stage, the individual recognizes that denial cannot continue. Because of anger, the person is very difficult to care for due to misplaced feelings of rage and envy. Any individual that symbolizes life or energy is subject to projected resentment and jealousy.
Example - "Why me? It's not fair!"; "How can this happen to me?"; "Who is to blame?"
3) Bargaining:
The third stage involves the hope that the individual can somehow postpone or delay death. Usually, the negotiation for an extended life is made with a higher power in exchange for a reformed lifestyle. Psychologically, the person is saying, "I understand I will die, but if I could just have more time..."
Example - "Just let me live to see my children graduate."; "I'll do anything for a few more years."; "I will give my life savings if..."
4) Depression:
During the fourth stage, the dying person begins to understand the certainty of death. Because of this, the individual may become silent, refuse visitors and spend much of the time crying and grieving. This process allows the dying person to disconnect themself from things of love and affection. It is not recommended to attempt to cheer an individual up that is in this stage. It is an important time for grieving that must be processed.
Example - "I'm so sad, why bother with anything?"; "I'm going to die . . . What's the point?"; "I miss my loved one, why go on?"
5) Acceptance:
This final stage comes with peace and understanding of the death that is approaching. Generally, the person in the fifth stage will want to be left alone. Additionally, feelings and physical pain may be non-existent. This stage has also been described as the end of the dying struggle.
Example - "It's going to be okay."; "I can't fight it, I may as well prepare for it."
Kübler-Ross originally applied these stages to people suffering from terminal illness, and later to any form of catastrophic personal loss (job, income, freedom). This may also include significant life events such as the death of a loved one, divorce, drug addiction, or an infertility diagnosis. Kübler-Ross also claimed these steps do not necessarily come in the order noted above, nor are all steps experienced by all patients, though she stated a person will always experience at least two. Often, people will experience several stages in a "roller coaster" effect - switching between two or more stages, returning to one or more several times before working through it. Significantly, people experiencing the stages should not force the process. The grief process is highly personal and should not be rushed, nor lengthened, on the basis of an individual's imposed time frame or opinion. One should merely be aware that the stages will be worked through and the ultimate stage of "Acceptance" will be reached. However, there are individuals that struggle with death until the end. Some psychologists believe that the harder a person fights death, they are more likely to stay in the denial stage. If this is the case, it is possible the ill person will have more difficulty dying in a dignified way. Other psychologists state that not confronting death until the end is adaptive for some people. Those that experience problems working through the stages should consider professional grief counseling or support groups.

According to Robert Kastenbaum, there are some problems with Kübler-Ross theory:

The five-stage sequence had not been demonstrated by Kübler-Ross or independent research (although the Yale study found some consistencies).
The stage interpretation neglected the patients' situations (relationship support, effects of illnesses, etc.) and how they could affect the cycle.

Cultural Relevance
A dying individual's approach to death has been linked to the amount of meaning and purpose a person has found throughout their lifetime. A study of 160 people with less than three months to live showed that those who felt they understood their purpose in life, or found special meaning, faced less fear and despair, in the final weeks of their lives than those who had not. In this and similar studies, spirituality helped dying individuals deal with the depression stage more aggressively than those who were not spiritual.

A 2000-2003 study of bereaved individuals conducted by Yale University obtained some findings that were consistent with the five-stage theory and others that were inconsistent with it.[2] In 2008, Skeptic Magazine published the findings of the Grief Recovery Institute, which contested the concept of stages of grief as they relate to people who are dealing with the deaths of people important to them.[3]

[edit] References
1.^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Santrock, J.W. (2007). A Topical Approach to Life-Span Development. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill
2.^ Maciejewski, P. K. (2007, Feb 21). JAMA. Retrieved April 14, 2009. Web Site
3.^ Friedman and James, R. and J.W. (2008).
The Myth of the Stages of Dying, Death and Grief. Skeptic Magazine, 14, Retrieved 2008.

Further reading
Kubler-Ross, E (1973) On Death and Dying, Routledge, ISBN 0415040159
Kubler-Ross, E (2005) On Grief and Grieving: Finding the Meaning of Grief Through the Five Stages of Loss, Simon & Schuster Ltd, ISBN 0743263448
Scire, P (2007). "Applying Grief Stages to Organizational Change."
An Attributional Analysis of Kübler-Ross' Model of Dying, by Mark R Brent. Harvard University, 1981.
An Evaluation of the Relevance of the Kübler-Ross Model to the Post-injury Responses of Competitive Athletes, by Johannes Hendrikus Van der Poel, University of the Free State. Published by s.n, 2000.

This article was taken from Wikepedia.


No comments: