This is the model that a lot of people pull out – that grief has five stages, and these are denial, anger, depression, bargaining and acceptance. And yes, I've gone through all of these. Denying that it can be real. He was alive last night and he's dead this morning. Fury at him and at the universe that he's gone. Feeling so low that I couldn't believe I could fall lower. Bargaining with the universe to find a reason why it happened to him, and not to the awful people in the world. And acceptance that this is the world I now live in.
I didn’t go through them in any order, and I cycled between them, across them and around them. My grief was more like this:
The reason that this model doesn't really work for bereavement is that it wasn't actually intended to be about the grief of losing someone we love. Swiss-American psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross' created the model to help terminally ill people to come to term with their own illness and death. David Kessler, her co-author, has worked with her to create models for people who are grieving. He says that there is no typical loss, and not everyone goes through all of the stages, or in any particular order.
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I was widowed at 50 when Tim, who I expected would be my happy-ever-after following a marriage break-up, died suddenly from heart failure linked to his type 2 diabetes. Though we'd known each other since our early 20s, we'd been married less than ten years.