Five Stages of Grief

When I was a freshman in high school in the fall of 1992, I was in an honors seminar class that explored a number of topics.

I was your typical high school freshman, concerned way more with baseball than my coursework, and I still wish today I had paid more attention to my great teacher, Stan Whittle.

One of these topics was the work of Elisabeth Kubler-Ross.

In 1969, Kubler-Ross first published her grief cycle. In 1996, I began to understand her work after my dad’s suicide.

Whether you’ve experienced a loss or not, knowing Kubler-Ross’ work will help you understand and empathize with the cycle that those experiencing a loss wind their way through in the wake of the death of a loved one.

The stages of Kubler-Ross’ grief cycle include: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance.

She framed her work as a model rather than a process because she believed that while a process can be fixed and rigid, a model tends to be more of a framework or a guide.

Some people don’t experience some of the stages. Some experience some of the stages multiple times.

Kubler-Ross calls transition between her stages “more of an ebb or flow, rather than a progression.”

You can read the full model at, and it’s a fascinating read as it’s built for each grieving individual to find his or her personal path as they heal.

To begin to heal, I believe we must seek to understand our grief, and the work of Elisabeth Kubler-Ross helped me on my journey. I hope she can help you or someone you love as well.

Would you like to share your story? Please contact us at [email protected]