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Remember Thou art dust


A Comparison of The Two Different Perspectives on The Stages of Death

In 1969 Elisabeth Kubler Ross a noted psychiatrist suggested that there are five distinct stages of grief after the loss of a loved one which are Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and finally acceptance. At that time most people dealt with grief via their religious affiliations. Records show that at that time 70 percent of Roman Catholics believed in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. Today the percent of Roman Catholics that believe in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist is down to only 30 percent. I believe that the change from the two different perspectives on the stages of death is due to the secularization of America. The new seven stages now address the psychological needs of the non-believing.

On Death and Dying[1]

Ross’s book, On Death and Dying, also was not originally conceived to help friends and family in dealing with the death but to help the person who is dying and the stages they go through before they accept their own death and hopefully find peace. It is important to note that Ross did not use empirical evidence to develop her stages but was developed by her experience with the dying. Also, it is crucial to note that the grieving process is different and distinctive for each person and that the stages may or may not be linear. Nor will everyone go through anger or depression and some people may not find peace. Some people may go through a stage multiple times. There is no right way to grieve death.

5 Stages[2]

·         Denial-is a way we can minimize the pain of loss; it is a survival mechanism. This helps us from being overwhelmed by emotions and we are trying to absorb and understand.

·         Anger-is an emotion that causes us to act while we are trying to adjust to the new reality. However, anger may scare people away when we most need them. Anger Can Affect Your Health.

·         Bargaining-you are willing to do almost anything; you may find God; and you may curse God. You may find prayer. We realize we are powerless. We need to cope with Negative Emotions.

·         Depression-This is when we find that our bargaining is not an option. Panic sets in and inward sadness grows. We may retreat from others. We want to be alone. If we continue seek help.

·         Acceptance-is the spot where we find peace and can deal with the pain of loss.

7 Stages[3] Through time, however, different sources have added what they believe to be other stages of grief and to be focused not only on the person who is dying but also those who survive.

·         Disbelief & Shock-was added to help not the dying but the living who experience numbness and doubt in their assumptions.

·         Denial-has no change from the 5 stages.

·         Guilt & Pain-was added here to help with the survivors in dealing with the remorse over “what might have been”. Sometimes a person passes and the survivor and the person that dies were not on good terms. It is important to deal with the pain and grief and pass through them without the aid of alcohol and drugs.

·         Bargaining-for survivors this is an attempt to make sense of the loss and coming to the realization there is nothing you can do to bring one back from the dead.

·         Anger-during this phase the survivors tend to lash out at the ones around them and try to place blame. People may end relationships. To preserve these relationships, it is important to find a way to deal with anger in a healthy manner. Failing to do so may cause permanent damage.

·         Depression-A person who has never experienced depression before may have a hard time with this stage. It is important to let yourself feel the grief and to reflect and be patient in your recuperation.

·         Acceptance-is a fading away of grief a restricting of life without and a cleaning out of a loved one’s chattel, and a new beginning. This is a decision to move on and return to normalcy. To stop looking at the past and move on to the future.


For those of the Christian faith we believe in dying to self and carrying our cross. In reflection the Christian is always in the dying process and therefore has in some respect had practice with the dying process and realizes the truth is unavoidable. We realize we are destined to die, and this world is a test of our will to align ourselves with our creator. We should be grateful for the life our creator gave us and if we can-mirror the attitude of the war chief Tecumseh, who told his people to prepare for death in an upcoming war.

So, live your life that the fear of death can never enter your heart. Trouble no one about their religion; respect others in their view, and demand that they respect yours. Love your life, perfect your life, beautify all things in your life. Seek to make your life long and its purpose in the service of your people. Prepare a noble death song for the day when you go over the great divide. Always give a word or a sign of salute when meeting or passing a friend, even a stranger, when in a lonely place. Show respect to all people and grovel to none. When you arise in the morning give thanks for the food and the joy of living. If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies only in yourself. Abuse no one and no thing, for abuse turns the wise ones to fools and robs the spirit of vision. When it comes your time to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with the fear of death, so that when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way. Sing your death song and die like a hero going home.[4]

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