What is the hardest stage for you in Kübler-Ross’s model of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, or acceptance?
I’ve, generally, only associated the five phases of grief with death, but people also associate them with things like loss of a job and divorce (or any kind of relationship breakup).
For me, denial is probably the hardest.
A couple of years ago, my nan passed away and whilst her mental health had been slowly declining, she was still in relatively good health. The family had eventually put her into respite care, because her Alzheimer’s was at that stage where she didn’t recognise her family any longer, and she felt as though she were meeting them each time for the first time.
Then one day she fell. She fractured her hip / pelvis and it was at that point, her health rapidly declined.
She was 92.
It was over a matter of days that her health deteriorated, and before anybody knew it, she had passed. It was quite quick, and in a sense it was a relief, because she wasn’t in any more pain.
I remember that phone call saying she had passed. I was in the process of organising to travel down to see her – a chance to see her one last time, and just like that, it was too late.
One of the things that surprised me the most, was that whilst she had no idea who anybody was, she still remembered who my brother and I were, which was quite extraordinary, and very touching. Hence why I wanted to see her one last time. I still feel guilty for not going down to visit sooner, but things like work, money and other commitments got in the way.
For a couple of days after I heard the news, I realised just how much I didn’t know about her, and how much would now remain a question mark, but I still have so many memories of her, which always puts a smile on my face, and brings a tear to my eye.
I wouldn’t even call it denial, it was more like disbelief. Here was this amazing woman who emigrated from Germany, had survived a war, raised 8 kids and lived a difficult life, and now she was gone. I didn’t have that opportunity to accept that she was dying – I knew it would happen, I just didn’t know it would happen so quickly, but apparently those kind of injuries are generally the beginning of the end for the elderly.
Unfortunately, death is just one of those moments in life that you have to accept and deal with. But for me, I just didn’t ever think about her passing away, I always pictured her being there in out lives as we got older. I just wanted her to stay a bit longer. But she’s not. She’s gone. It’s been two years already and whilst I’ve moved on, I find that I think about her almost daily.
I miss her.
She will always be in my heart.
I love you, Nan.