The Long Goodbye: Why I Don't Believe In The 5 Stages Of Grief

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In 1969, Swiss psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross dissected grief into a broken-down, numerical process.

When you lose something or someone who meant a great deal to you, it is claimed you go through these five stages of grief.

The thing nobody tells you is sometimes, the grief never ends.

I would love to meet this genius who thought up the ways in which a person mourns and tried to define it so simply.

It's anything but simple.

I have been hurting as long as I can remember.

Whether it's through a new loss or the same one I'm reminded of by a song on the radio or by stumbling across an old photo, I start back at stage one all over again, every time.

The five stages of grief are bullsh*t.

You never stop missing people. You just forget you're missing them because your life changes, and the reminders of them become less frequent.

But the pain is still there, burning into your soul, and no amount of time or logic can change that.

Whether it's an ex who broke your heart or a best friend who died, I'm sorry to say, stages don't heal you.

You will carry that grief with you, and it will change you for the rest of your life.

1. Denial

I have had loved ones die, parents abandon me and family hurt me. I've lost the love of my life.

Throughout all of that, I've never been in denial.

Unfortunately for me, this stage is utter sh*t because if I could deny it, then I would have been blissfully ignorant for at least a short period of time.

This doesn't mean I haven't found moments of joy, but I have always been acutely aware of the pain I felt back then — and still feel now — from the absence of their presences in my life.

2. Anger

This one isn't so wrong. I was angry then, but I am still angry now.

That’s partly why I feel it's necessary to say all of this.

I am angry I gave away parts of my heart to people who, in one way or another, were taken from my life. Now, I am angry there’s almost nothing of my heart left.

I am angry to the makers of this universe, who stole my happiness by taking those I loved away from me.

I am angry to have loved others with every fiber of my heart and soul, only to have them break each ounce of myself I gave them.

3. Bargaining

I call your bluff on this one.

Although I might have compromised myself by naïvely trusting other people to love me as much as I do them, I have never been stupid enough to believe I could actually make it true.

There is no amount of willpower or determination you can have to make a deal with destiny.

Life is going to happen, and it’s going to kick you on your ass.

You need to be realistic enough to accept you can’t change that.

4. Depression

I wouldn’t characterize depression as a stage of anything.

To me, depression is a dear, old, beautiful friend. Depression was my crutch and my shadow, following me wherever I went.

It’s supposed to be something you feel and conquer, but in your own time.

Sometimes, depression is not conquerable at all. It serves as a haunting reminder of your grief.

You can become depressed at any given moment, when you're reminded of everything you have lost.

People try to dull their depression through medication, pain or drugs, but depression exists because pain exists.

I don’t want to medicate myself to not feel the pain because the pain is real.

5. Acceptance

In my personal opinion, this is the most ridiculous stage. I will never accept having to wake up without experiencing some sort of love.

I laugh in the face of acceptance. I defiantly refuse acceptance.

I was, at some point in my life, given something so blessed that it rooted in my soul and changed me from the person I was before.

I don’t accept having it stolen from me.

I don’t accept cosmic forces robbing me of something or someone I loved.

You should not spend your life huddled in a corner feeling hopeless, but you need to know it's okay to feel the way you do.

It is valid.

You are allowed to hurt, cry and miss someone who once meant a great deal to you.

However, the difference is, you should not feel obligated to complete this in a certain way or within a designated timeframe.

You can't be defined by numbers or processes because your loss is real, and what you feel matters.

I have lost so much, time and time again. But what I need to say in lieu of all of this is this: Despite it, I have been loved.

I am blessed enough to have been so profoundly touched by another human being it has changed me to my core.

I found a healthy way to still carry my grief with me while forging forward in my life, and you need to know you can do the same thing when you’re ready.

But, only you can decide when you are.