On this day in 2004, Elisabeth Kübler-Ross died. Many of you may not be familiar with the name; however, she worked throughout her life on the subject of death and dying. Many people have been helped by this work in understanding their grief.

Many people struggle with their grief and it seems like an important part of life to be able to cope with.  It is the hollow emptiness that washes over us.  We are separated from the known the familiar with no chance to retrace our steps. Kubler-Ross worked on a model to explain the process of grief it has 5 stages and in grieving you will pass through all the stages, not necessarily in the order listed here and possibly several at a time. The stages are

  • Denial – It can’t have happened to me
  • Anger – This is ridiculous – whose fault is this
  • Bargaining – If they come back to me it’ll be different
  • Depression – I’m helpless, it can’t get worse
  • Acceptance – I know it’s happened I did what I could and it’s behind me now.

It’s important to notice that grief is a process to help you let go, people often become stuck because there is some part or something of the person or their loss that they just can’t get past.

Grief counselling can help as can good friends who are prepared to ‘go the distance’ and listen, keep talking about the person who has died and not feel awkward when talking about them.Children in particular can get the idea that you don’t talk about the dead person and they find it difficult to grasp because a few days earlier they were always talking about grandpa, or dad or Uncle Joe.

Finally remember that anything significant that you lose in your life can trigger a grief process so redundancy, the end of a friendship or the breakup of a boy band. So don’t be afraid to ask for help, it is difficult, but you can and will get through it thanks to the work of pioneers like Elisabeth Kübler-Ross.