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The Five Stages of Grief

Posted Oct 01 2008 8:55pm

Being a nurse, I am very familiar with Elisabeth Kubler-Ross's 5 stages of grief. It is practically crammed down your throat in nursing school. Until Riley was diagnosed, theses stages hadn't really had much to do with my life. I have experienced deaths of close family members, but I never really went through the stages. I was just sad for a while and then went on with my life and missed them terribly.

The stages are as follows:

Denial
Anger
Bargaining
Depression
Acceptance

The basic premise is that we all go through these stages when grieving. We all spend different amounts of time in each stage and go through the stages in different orders. For example, some start with depression, then anger, bargaining, denial, and then acceptance. Others will go through it just as it is listed.

When Riley was first diagnosed, I went through a stage of denial. I kept thinking maybe the Dr. was wrong and his pancreas would again start working. I thought maybe the tests they did were wrong. He just had a little virus and things would be back to normal soon.

Next, it was bargaining. I bargained like heck with God. I would do ANYTHING if He would just heal Riley.

Then, I went through a brief time of acceptance. This one didn't last long before I moved on to depression. I just couldn't believe that my sweet boy would have to go through this for the rest of his life. The thought of getting up in the morning and starting the day by poking his finger just became almost unbearable.

Then, I'd totter back and forth between acceptance and depression. Then, a flash of anger. How could this happen to my child? Why? It's not fair! Why does he bounce back and forth from 55 to 400? I don't know who I was mad at, but boy was I mad.

Right now, I think I'm in the acceptance phase again. I've just learned to deal with the day to day fluctuations of this horrible disease. Even though I've accepted that this is the way that it has to be, I'm still not even close to being happy.

There are still days when I think I go through every single stage. My mood can shift so suddenly. Another thing about the stages of grief is that they can last for a long time. Sometimes I wonder if I will be going through them for the rest of my life. And that makes me angry....and another stage begins.

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