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Saturday, April 25, 2015

Grief: The 'sixth step'

Skydiving   (Photo by Simonsanely)
Those who interpret Elisabeth Kubler-Ross’ five steps of grief as a neat little package are in for some grievous awakenings.

Life is just not that formulaic.  As the poet (most likely Edgar A. Guest) once wrote:  Life is queer with its twists and turns, As every one of us sometimes learns…

After detailing the first four steps (“denial, anger, bargaining, depression”), Ross ends her grief paradigm with “acceptance.”

The word “acceptance,” though, often connotes a rather weary trudge through life.  That is why a “sixth step” of grief might be more than welcome.

Experts are now talking about “the tackling of a grand challenge” as this sixth step.  When all is said and done, all is not said and done.  The griever is still alive, and can either celebrate that precious gift or mourn the loss of those who have moved into other realms.

Or both…  Whereas mourning a loved one’s absence may never end (perhaps rightfully so), celebrating the everlasting continuum of life can help to offset the sharpest edges of that pain.

Some take up adventurous pursuits such as skydiving or traveling solo cross country.  Others pick back up on unfinished dreams.

As Dr. Cara Barker states:  People who have suffered a profound loss, if they’re open, then a tiny little light goes on and they begin to cherish life in a way that is profound. 


Copyright April 25, 2015 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

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