We help people who are experiencing grief or pain resulting from the loss of a loved one through an illness, death, divorce or separation, a lost pregnancy, or even the loss of a pet. Many people need help moving on and relieving sadness and distress. We also work with seriously ill patients in Hospice and their caregivers to help them resolve emotional distress that they may feel regarding the illness. There are at least five stages of recovery. People move back and forth between the stages, but sometimes they get stuck and need help to recover and feel better. Cheer Counselors are skilled in providing this help.
Elisabeth Kübler-Ross* described the following five stages of grieving
1. Denial — “I feel fine.”; “This can’t be happening, not to me.” Denial is usually only a temporary defense for the individual. This feeling is generally replaced with heightened awareness of possessions and individuals that will be left behind after death.
2. Anger — “Why me? It’s not fair!”; “How can this happen to me?”; ’”Who is to blame?” Once in the second stage, the individual recognizes that denial cannot continue. Because of anger, the person is very difficult to care for due to misplaced feelings of rage and envy.
3. Bargaining — “I’ll do anything for a few more years.”; “I will give my life savings if…” The third stage involves the hope that the individual can somehow postpone or delay death. Usually, the negotiation for an extended life is made with a higher power in exchange for a reformed lifestyle. Psychologically, the individual is saying, “I understand I will die, but if I could just do something to buy more time…”
4. Depression — “I’m so sad, why bother with anything?”; “I’m going to die soon so what’s the point… What’s the point?”; “I miss my loved one, why go on?” During the fourth stage, the dying person begins to understand the certainty of death. Because of this, the individual may become silent, refuse visitors and spend much of the time crying and grieving. This process allows the dying person to disconnect from things of love and affection. It is not recommended to attempt to cheer up an individual who is in this stage. It is an important time for grieving that must be processed.
5. Acceptance — “It’s going to be okay.”; “I can’t fight it, I may as well prepare for it.” In this last stage, individuals begin to come to terms with their mortality, or that of a loved one, or other tragic event.