Elizabeth Kubler Ross studied terminally ill patients and came up with the Five Stages of Grief. In her book, On Death and Dying, she details her research and findings. This model can be used for any significant loss. The end of a relationship, empty nesting, being fired as well as tragedies, disasters or chronic pain are all changes with ends, we may suffer.
But she specifically categorizes “the 5 stages” for the theme of death or a catastrophic personal loss or life event. She has been misrepresented as stating all grief follows these stages and that is not her finding necessarily. People just like to glob onto quick answers and explanations, especially when it is an uncomfortable subject. The non-victim can grieve but the loss belongs to the person experiencing it and the stages apply to them.
The five stages include:
What we are experiencing for the victims of Sandy Hook or the Boston Marathon is grief, sorrow, compassion and empathy. What the parents, family and bystanders in these horrific events may have and may still be going through are the 5 stages. We hope they don’t remain in any stage for more than two years or so.
The peace comes when we are in a place of acceptance, for there is no other compassionate choice or kinder place.