I call this little essay “Grieving in America.”
In 1969, Elisabeth Kubler Ross wrote a book called “On Death and Dying.”
She outlines the five stages a person goes through when diagnosed with a fatal illness.
And while Kubler Ross’s work was about those who are experiencing grief due to a recent diagnosis, some of what she theorized has also felt very relevant to me as I’ve grieved (and continue to grieve)what’s happening in the United States.
And thought I would share a few observations about myself as I’ve gone and continue to go through this process. And to be clear…this is not a linear process.
Stage One: Denial. Things I said included, “This isn’t really happening.” “It’s only a small minority of people who feel this way.” “The media is focusing on the worst of us.”
Stage Two: Anger. Things I did…Vent. Rage. Blame. Fight. Shame.
Stage Three: Bargain. “Maybe if I devote myself full time to making a difference things will change.” “If I could just come up with the one thing that will flip the switch on all of this.” This stage has a lot of “what if’s”…a kind of magical way of thinking that “what if I did this” or “what if this happened.” There’s a desperation to this stage. Things here feel forced.
Stage Four: Depression. “I’m at a total loss. I give up. There’s nothing I can do. I want to hide. I want to escape. I want to sleep. I can’t feel joy when there is so much isht happening.”
Stage Five: Acceptance. “I’ve gained an understanding that what is happening IS happening. Greed, hatred, power, compassion, love…these have always existed and played out in various ways. I am going to do what I can in my own way. My actions are in this for the long haul, the bigger picture. What I choose to do influences the now and the future. There is no quick fix and I am a cog in the wheel, a drop of water in the ocean. I am the change I wish to see…and the likelihood of my seeing that change on a global scale is slim to none, but I’m okay with that. I persist. I do not give up. I am joyful and whole. I am Love.”
Just a few thoughts for a Sunday Morning.