Roy Ellis, Bereavement Coordinator for Capital Health Palliative Care, says Elisabeth Kübler-Ross’ five stages of grief “are still relevant, although the bereavement profession has begun to recognize that they have limited value within the context of healing.”

"“The reality is that we move constantly and randomly through the five stages."

People often misunderstand the concept. They think it means a person will progress in a linear fashion through stages one to five, and they will then be finished with grief. “The reality is that we move constantly and randomly through the five stages,” says Ellis. “Grief is organic; it is not fixed to a schedule – nor are we ever really finished grieving.”

Some thinkers, according to Ellis, believe the concept of the stages of grief misses a crucial point; that grief is a state of being in which we are learning new ways to keep the loss - of the person or thing loved - in our world.” It appears that we need to hold onto what we've lost but find a new understanding for the place of the loss in our lives.

“We speak less of letting go these days and more of holding close the cherished lost person, ideal or belief. In any event, the five stages of grief will always be part of grief education and our understanding. But perhaps it will come to hold less of central position in our theory base,” Ellis says.

About Anna Quon

Anna is an accomplished freelance/creative writer and writing workshop facilitator. She lives in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.  She is passionate about many things, especially writing. It is through her writing, and her volunteer work with community organizations, that Anna honours the lives of people who, like her, are living with mental illness.

In 2008, Anna received the Inspiring Lives Award from the Mental Health Foundation of Nova Scotia. In 2009, Anna published her first novel titled Migration Songs which was shortlisted for the Dartmouth Book Award.

Visit Anna's web site.