The Sixth Stage
“Faith is trust in ultimate meaning.” – Viktor E. Frankl
In 1969, Elisabeth Kübler-Ross’ wrote the classic book On Death and Dying which defined the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. And the journey is not a linear or orderly trip. We go from one to the next and bounce back and forth, doing the best we can in the moment.
I’ve returned to the stages many times when losing loved ones, which has happened a lot in the past four years. Recently, I’ve been reflecting on the stages with loss of “normal” life that has come with COVID-19 and now with George Floyd’s horrific death in Minneapolis followed by riots, burning and destruction of over 170 buildings/neighborhood businesses in St. Paul and Minneapolis. It’s heavy and difficult to string together words that can adequately describe the sorrow and angst.
David Kessler who co-authored On Grief and Grieving with Kübler-Ross has written a new book Finding Meaning: The Sixth Stage of Grief, adding a sixth stage of grief – meaning. Finding meaning takes time, fortitude and distance. We are deep in a lot of anger.
May we not succumb to despair and fear. With hope and grace, meaning will come to open our hearts to love rather than hate, empathy over apathy, light rather than darkness. Peace starts within each one of us. Start there and then move out into the world.
“I know for sure that loves saves me and that it is here to save us all.” – Maya Angelou