It was Swiss-American psychiatrist, Elizabeth Kübler-Ross, a pioneer in near-death studies and the author of the ground breaking book On Death and Dying, who first established a set of stages she called ‘The Grief Process’. Her research during the 1960s resulted in a set of five stages – Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance – that may or may not present themselves in a linear progression. They were designed to give a framework and a shape to the jumble of emotions and thoughts being experienced by a bereaved person. Stages may be passed through and experienced in different ways as everyone’s journey is as personal to them as their fingerprint.
The summaries of each stage below are drawn from descriptions of the stages that appear on the back of the Ramryge Angel Cards designed by Claudia Brown (read the story behind them here). Claudia has added her own 6th stage – Peace, which she believes is attainable after Acceptance, through faith and trust in God and offers hope in the midst of distress.
1. Denial is seen as the first stage of the grief process. When in Denial we can find ourselves in a state of shock, numbness, or panic and generally refuse to accept reality. Denial is the shock absorber for the soul and a natural reaction to pain, loss and change.
2. Anger is seen as the second stage. When we have stopped denying our loss, feelings of anger, frustration or rage can emerge. We may be angry at God, ourselves, our situation and the people around us. This anger can be reasonable and justified or sometimes irrational and misdirected as we seek to blame someone or something for our loss.
3. Bargaining is the third stage. After the anger has begun to subside, we may attempt to strike a bargain with ourselves, another person but most probably God. We feel that if we do this or someone else does that then by some miracle we can prevent our loss. This is often futile and comes from a desperate place. Read More