Stages of grief
BY Stephen Moeller, Floral Haven's certified Grief Recovery Specialist
Thursday, November 19, 2009
11/23/09 at 1:42 PM
One of the greatest misconceptions in our society is that people experience specific “stages of grief.”
Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, a pioneer in hospice, discovered that people diagnosed with a terminal illness frequently experienced five “stages” in how they personally reacted to hearing this news. Since this was the first time that anyone had outlined the grief that people felt upon learning that they were dying, people began to refer to her discovery as the “stages of grief.” Unfortunately, even though her work focused on grief felt by those who were dying and had nothing to do with the grief felt by those who survived, it has been frequently misused to explain how the surviving friends and family react to their emotional pain.
The only guaranteed “stage” of grief is the sense of being overwhelmed and confused by the news on hearing of a death. Most people react this way because we are never really ready to let go of those we love. It is upon hearing this news that we suddenly think of things that we wished we could have said to that person, things we wished we had done with them and the things that we wished to do with them in the future. It is during this time we discover how just much unfinished business still exists in this relationship. This reaction is very normal and lasts different times for different people and different relationships.
It is often that this “unfinished business” hits people at odd moments and triggers emotional outbursts. People will see something that reminds them of the loved one that they lost and brings back a fond memory. It is with this memory that we are reminded that they are gone and that we had more things we wished we could have said or done. As a result, a happy memory can often lead people to a sad and emotional moment.
Everyone reacts in their own way to their particular loss. Some people with have trouble sleeping and others will have trouble getting out of bed. Some people over eat, while others loose weight. Everyone is different.
The best way to help people through these moments is to listen to them share their feelings and not try to tell them why they shouldn’t feel whatever they are feeling. Please understand that this need to share their actual feelings is normal. Some people are able to move through this on their own, while others might find it helpful to join a recovery group or support program to assist them.
This information was provided by Floral Haven. To talk to Stephen Moeller, Floral Haven's certified Grief Recovery Specialist, call him at (918) 459-1597 or e-mail at email@example.com. You can learn more about grief by visiting www.fhaven.com or the Grief Recovery Institute at www.grief.net.
The only guaranteed “stage” of grief is the sense of being overwhelmed and confused by the news on hearing of a death.