Phases of Grieving

Phases of Grieving

August 26, 2021

A friend of mine commented on my most recent comic (Strip #219: “Baggage”) that it reminded her of a recent Radiolab episode about Elisabeth Kübler-Ross and the five stages.

After listening to it, I revisited this post-it note on my office wall. A couple years ago I stumbled across this two-axis diagram of the journey through the five stages. I put it on a post-it and drew a blue X where I think Mom’s journey ended. (My handwriting is just atrocious, so I whipped together a cleaner digital version.)

In the early stages of this project I had hoped to use the five stages of grieving (and the various coping mechanisms we employ) as some sort of narrative framing device (like: “Chapter 2: Anger, Chapter 3: Bargaining, etc.), but I got derailed on this idea because Mom didn’t seem to follow the Kübler-Ross trajectory. Strip #219 may have been an attempt to close the loop on those ideas by leaving them open-ended.

Anyway that episode of Radiolab (listen here) gave me a lot to think about. Not everybody grieves the same and not everybody dies the same. Mom lived her entire life in that lower left hand quadrant, so why would dying be any different for her? This was just her way. ❤️


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