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Elizabeth Kubler-Ross

Updated on October 25, 2014

Thanks for a life well learned

I first learned of Ms Kubler-Ross from her book, "On Death and Dying" which was an integral part of my study in social work at the University of Southern Mississippi back in the 1980's. Her 5 stages of grief, we learned were about much more than the loss of a loved one in the physical sense.

We learned that "grief" has many faces, and dying, many meanings.

I have appreciated this wisdom throughout my life, and used it over and over both in my professional and personal experience.

I am thankful she left such a strong legacy for women, and hope many generations to come, both men and women, continue to benefit from her work.

Dr. Ross came up with these 5 stages after interviewing more than 500 patients as they faced death. While she asserts that they are not necessarily inclusive or chronological, they are the most commonly experienced by those she has worked with.

  1. Denial and Isolation. Refusing to acknowledge that death is coming. Believing the doctor is wrong, wanting a second opinion, etc. "The need for Denial exists in every patient at some time" Dr. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross
  2. Anger. Why is this happening to me? I don't deserve this. The feelings of grief really need to be expressed and anger is common. Those close to the dying family member need to remember it is normal and not to take it personally. This is a tough stage.
  3. Bargaining. The patient tries to buy more time, and comes up with ways to do so.
  4. Depression. A feeling of sadness, feeling that there is nothing they can do. "An important stepping stone" to the next stage.
  5. Acceptance. Not bo be confused with happiness, acceptance is a sort of letting go of the negative energy and coming to a realization that death is coming. Depression and other phases of grief may reappear from time to time, but the predominant feeling is acceptance.

Northern Raven
Northern Raven

Life Beyond Death

The Investigation

The biggest step of death and dying is death itself. The actual process of letting go of life is perhaps the loveliest moment of our lives. Then again, maybe it is not. New York Times bestselling author and former criminalist, Eldon Taylor investigates what happens when we die, and interviews a series of experts on the subject as part of his radio show.

Here is the set of recordings with Eldon as he talks with a Hospice Physician, Research Scientist, Authors, Religious Experts and others on the different views of what happens when we die. Free Access to Recordings

One of Eldon's guests is Raymond Moody, whose work I read as a teenager. His book had a profound effect on me. Dr. Elizabeth Kubler Ross wrote the forward to his book.

Life After Life: The Investigation of a Phenomenon--Survival of Bodily Death 25th anniversary edition: by Raymond Moody

Shout Out For Elizabeth Kubler-Ross!

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    • David Stone1 profile image

      David Stone 

      7 years ago from New York City

      I got the chills the first time I read her work, not like I'd get anywhere else, because I sensed that she was getting the truth of what I believed to be true but had never had verified. She's wonderful and so are you for spotlighting her.

    • jptanabe profile image

      Jennifer P Tanabe 

      8 years ago from Red Hook, NY

      Love the work of Elizabeth Kubler-Ross. Thanks for this lens about her.

    • junecampbell profile image

      June Campbell 

      8 years ago from North Vancouver, BC, Canada

      I studied Kubler-Ross in university back in the seventies. Her work is ageless. Thanks for this great lens and congrats on being Giant Squid of the Day.

    • kateloving profile image

      Kate Loving Shenk 

      9 years ago from Lancaster PA

      Thanks for this lens, KK!! Elizabeth Kubler-Ross is awesome. I especially love the book, "Life After Death." A real classic!


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