The Dying vs. The Living in the Stages of Grief.

What is Grief? There is a state of loss and a reaction to loss. The grief that I want to talk about today is emotional suffering one feels when they experience or react to loss.  I think we are all familiar with the Five Stages Theory developed by the Kubler-Ross Model;

  1. denial
  2. anger
  3. bargaining
  4. depression
  5. acceptance

What is often left unsaid is that these 5 stages are what the person who is dying experience, not the living. As those of us who are left without our loved ones, we grieve differently. We do not grieve in the order of the 5 stages. We may visit these stages numerous times but not in any specific order nor only once.

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We must go through a process of grief when we are diagnosed with a chronic illness. We will visit anger and denial many times. We will be depressed and visit anger again. We might touch on acceptance a few times but then our symptoms increase, and that may throw us back into the grieving process. Then denial. We may bargain; if I and refuse prescription painkillers then I will get better or if I pray hard enough, I will be cured! Then we get angry again; why, why, why is this happening to me? We grieve; we revisit these stages many times and in no particular order.

Until we truly reach acceptance can we understand who this new person is? We must grieve! Our loved ones must grieve. You look the same, but you are not! Some cannot let go of the old you and leave your life. Some simply will not accept the new you, and we must leave them. Once in acceptance, we learn about this new person we have become. We must listen to her, be kind to her and embrace her. You may find you will come to love this new gentle soul. This soul who has been through a real-life battle! Help her find herself and encourage her to seek out her gifts as she is now. The old you, the old career, the old dreams, are gone. Your chronic illness took that from you! That is your past. Leave it there. You must find new strengths. You will find those if you are truly and firmly accepting of who you are now. Acceptance does not mean giving up, it means living in the present and you acknowledging what you face. You go after your illness differently. You will be able to face your truths and look at problems in a realistic way not encumbered by feelings developed from fear.

In conclusion, I do not know how many times I can state that acceptance does not mean giving up! It does not. It means you are going to have to look at your life, circumstances and health issues differently. You will find purpose in accepting this new perspective. You will be at peace, you will find that purpose and that love you seek. It is all waiting for you, you just have to get finished with your grieving process. The timeline is up to you. Your grief serves a purpose that you will let go of only when you have completed your grieving process.

Live your best life!

IMG_0250~Kim