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Thursday, May 6, 2010

Hope

Back in 1969, Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross wrote about the stages of grief in her book, On Death and Dying.

The well-known stages (with example statements from Wikipedia) are:

  1. Denial – "I feel fine."; "This can't be happening, not to me."
  2. Anger – "Why me? It's not fair!"; "How can this happen to me?"; "Who is to blame?"
  3. Bargaining – "Just let me live to see my children graduate."; "I'll do anything for a few more years."; "I will give my life savings if..."
  4. Depression – "I'm so sad, why bother with anything?"; "I'm going to die... What's the point?"; "I miss my loved one, why go on?"
  5. Acceptance – "It's going to be okay."; "I can't fight it, I may as well prepare for it."

Once upon a time, I was trained in the diagnosis of problems in schoolchildren based on this model.

But the woman who did the training was a person of faith (I was a church elementary school principal at the time), and she added one more step to these fearsome five:

Hope.

Yes, beyond mere acceptance, beyond the shrug and the "Oh, well, what the hell," comes genuine belief in the benevolence of the universe and the promise of the future.

So if you're in grief, look forward to Hope.

You'll be happier.

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