|My Fall Sunset photo just seems to go with the theme.|
The next one was much harder. We had to write about our personal experiences with the stages of grief.
Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, in her book called On Death and Dying (New York: McMillan Publishing Company, 1969), presented a theory that people experience five different stages during the grieving process. The stages she suggested are Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance. These stages are understood to occur at different speeds and in different orders and in fact a person might jump back and forth between these stages. The study was originally reflecting the experiences of the dying person and was revolutionary in its time. Common culture is now accepting that these stages are also seen in others who experience great loss be it the death of a loved one or other crisis; profound loss is expressed by the intense emotion of grief.
I could have written about the death of one of my parents or even a large event that I was at where a tragic accident occurred but I decided the best thing for me would be to work through the experience of my illness and brain injury. Not an easy choice especially with marks attached. I swing rapidly back and forth between "the stages" on any given day.
- Denial? I'm kind of thinking I was in denial when I decided I needed to go back to college.
- Anger? You bet. I just have to think about the hospital I was at. Just have to look at my cane.
- Bargaining? Well maybe. Do you think if I just went up and down the stairs at school 500 more times I would get fitter and I would stop needing to depend on the elevator?
- Depression? Been there a lot and my social worker and meditation were very helpful in the first years. Time and physical recovery have helped. There are still bad days though. Christmas was very hard.
- Acceptance? Okay yes sometimes I accept the situation, because truth be told I am doing spectacularly well. But then... something goes wrong. I drop a cup that I picked up with my left hand or I have trouble getting the laundry basket down the stairs. (This morning I got frustrated and just kicked my clothes loose down the stairs toward the washing machine). I get a bad headache and my first response isn't that I should go get Tylenol-- I imagine I am about to die and think about if I should call an ambulance or not.
Mainly though, I just get on with life.
Next week there are two more assignments to complete for this particular course. I have to do an art collage of my life and I have to work on my own Eulogy. We will see how that goes.