Grief is a response to the loss of a loved one and has social, emotional, physical and behavioral dimensions. The process of grief has numerous natural and healthy steps. Additionally, the process of grieving differs from one person to another. Nonetheless, the basic process can be summarized to include shock and denial, intense concern, depression, despair and recovery. Elizabeth Kübler-Ross is a psychologist who provided the five stages of grief model that explains the grieving process (Videbeck, 2011). She noted that people undergo a sequence of poignant stages when they lose loved ones. These stages include the denial, irritation, bargaining, melancholy and acceptance phases. She had developed the model to assist patients with cancer dealing with imminent death. Nonetheless, it is applicable in explaining the process of grieving over the loss of a loved one.
In the denial stage, people state that they are okay even though they are not. Refutation can be conscious or cataleptic refusal to accept reality. Notably, it is a protective system used to cope with the loss. The second stage is anger, in which people try to understand why the unfortunate event happened to them. In this stage, people’s feelings are misplaced and they recognize that denial cannot help. Moreover, the anger can be manifested in various ways. Bargaining is the third stage in Elizabeth’s grieving model. It involves the belief that death can somehow be postponed (Nevid, 2009). She noted that many people hoped that they could find more time to do certain things.
The fourth stage is the depression and despair phase. In this stage, people normally understand that it is definite that they are dying. Thus, patients at this stage of grieving normally become silent and withdrawn. Notably, this stage makes people to disconnect with other individuals. Depression is a form of acceptance that has emotional connection. The last phase is the acceptance stage. In this stage, the grieving person accepts the situation.
Comparison with Job’s Story and Islam
The story of Job’s grieving in the Bible correlates with the five stage model of grief provided by Elizabeth. Job lost all his wealth and children and he was affected physically, financially, spiritually and emotionally. In chapter one, he recognizes that God gives and takes. This is a form of denial. Anger is shown in the second chapter when he wondered whether a good thing would come from God. Anger is also shown when he noted that he could not keep quiet, because he had to protest to his soul. The third stage is shown in chapter nine when he searches for someone to mediate between him and God. Additionally, depression is evidenced during the whole process of grieving. Finally, acceptance is evidenced in chapter thirteen when he decided to put his faith in God without considering the circumstances (Mazzalongo, 2010). However, Job interchanged the stages identified by Elizabeth. He did not follow the stages as described in the model.
People react differently to grief. Furthermore, Elizabeth’s stages of grief are applicable to everyone irrespective of their religion. Thus, Muslims go through the stages of grief that are similar to those that Job experienced. Notably, religion does not make people react differently to grief (Ruqaiyyah, 2012). Nonetheless, Muslims are guided by the principles of Islam and they guide how Muslims react to grief. Hence, some of the stages of grief may not be evidenced when a Muslim is grieving. Islam does not expect Muslims to grieve as if they have no hope. Thus, denial and distortion of reality is discouraged (Hashmi, 2008). Moreover, in some Islamic countries, women are not expected to show emotional reactions when grieving. These deviate from the stages provided by Elizabeth. However, in Christianity people can react emotionally and go through all the stages described by Elizabeth.
Interaction of Joy with the Stages of Grief
During grieving, it is possible for the bereaved to experience joy. In many cases, people in the acceptance stage are likely to experience joy as they have agreed with their predicament. In the acceptance stage, people are free from blame, anger and depression. Thus, it is possible for them to feel happiness. However, it does not replace the grief that the individuals experience (Berns, 2012). In other words, sorrow and joy have a relationship and interact during grieving in the acceptance stage. This research has provided a great insight in the grieving process. It has provided a basic explanation of how grieving takes place. More importantly, it has shaped my conceptualization of the phenomenon. My preferred method of coping with grief is according to the model provided by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross.
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