Stages of Dying
Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross found the dying process to be in five typical stages:
- SHOCK/DENIAL: It begins when the sick individual is, for the first time, seriously considering that death may be the outcome of their illness. The idea may still be suppressed, but deep down the individual knows what is coming.
- ANGER: The second stage comes when knowledge of approaching death can no longer be suppressed but keeps coming to conscious awareness. The dying person then wants to prove to him/herself and others of their existence. They may tyrannize family or caretakers and refuse to see visitors.
- BARGAINING: A the third stage, the individual realizes that they must die – but not yet. They begin to negotiate with the physician, with God. “If only I could be given a few more months – or years – I will make use of them.”
- DEPRESSION: At the 4th stage, it becomes clear that death is approaching not just in general terms, but now. This causes depression, and self-reproach. The depression can be seen as a preparation for the approaching separation. Values that have applied until now are destroyed, the patient may have depressed feelings about the life lives so far and the lack of time to change things. This depression can only be understood if we know it will be followed by the stage when life coming to its close is contemplated in peace.
- ACCEPTANCE: At the 5th stage, the sick individual fully accepts death. The patient grows peaceful and may even be able to comfort those who must remain behind.The five stages will not be equally well developed in every case, and patients may even go back to an earlier stage if their condition improves. The above progression is, however, typical, and experience shows it to be so, with many variations.The five stages may be experienced by family members as processing one’s grief or could be applied to almost any life altering event.It is a great help to the dying individual if a caregiver understands the dying process. Then they do not feel left on their own. The dying individual is not the object of pity but is accompanied with insight, understanding and compassion.
- ALLOW: From the perspective of facilitating etheric transitions, Kendra adds a 6th stage. The first 5 stages address the mental and emotional bodies. The final stage incorporates the mind, body and soul to allow for the transition to take place.