Remember the stages of grief

Last Tuesday, my calendar saying was “Life is so good!”
Yes! Life is good! Very good . . . and beautiful . . . and wonderful—and I love it!
I also believe in the importance of positive affirmations, such as “Life is so good!”
But then, a very important friend dies suddenly. You lose a job through no fault of your own. Your husband is diagnosed with Parkinson’s, cancer, or another illness.
Then life is not so good. In fact, life seems very hard as we grieve these losses.
Last week was one of those times. As my husband was recovering from surgery, we got the news that one of his best friends had died suddenly and unexpectedly.
Wayne Wiens had been a long-time friend of the family and a very close friend of my husband. Most people saw Wayne as an eminent scientist, which he was. A distinguished college biology professor, he taught many medical doctors, and other health professionals and scientists–giving them a very solid foundation.
But Wayne was so much more. Among his many talents was bread baking–light, delicious, melt-in-your-mouth bread.
When we got the shocking news of his sudden death, we had just finished the last crumbs of the yummy raisin bread Wayne brought the last time he visited.
He also was a gourmet cook. Years ago, I met Wayne in the grocery store and commented on the homely ginger root in his cart.
“If you haven’t cooked with ginger, you haven’t lived!” he countered.
We’ve been “living” ever since!
Wayne was interested in a great diversity of ideas. He read my husband’s books and they had long conversations about theology, philosophy, and politics.
The last time my husband saw Wayne was just over a week ago, when he joined Wayne and his close friend, Dr. Charles Graber, at a lecture on the “Oceans of Kansas” (yes, oceans in Kansas–the fossils are here to prove it!)
And now this interesting man is gone so suddenly. It is just too much to assimilate and makes me angry. Life isn’t fair.
Why Wayne? Why now? As it turns out, this feeling of anger is a common reaction.
It was Elisabeth Kübler-Ross who first introduced the stages of grief model in her 1969 book, “On Death and Dying.” The stages of grief are called universal because they are experienced by everyone from all walks of life.
The five stages of grief are as follows:
1. Denial–Feelings of disbelief are common (i.e., “It can’t be true”).
2. Anger–“Why me?” “I don’t deserve this.”
3. Bargaining–“If only . . . we had gone to the doctor earlier. . . .”
4. Depression–Deep depression that won’t go away.
5. Acceptance–“It’s true, and I have to go on and find the good in life.”
Psychologists say the stages are universal. But they often come in random order. And in each unique case, the timetable is different.
So when you experience one of life’s many tragic losses, remember the five stages of grief. Allow yourself the time you need to grieve. And remember that friends and family want to help with this universal and difficult experience.
Let them!
Finally, know that someday, somehow, you again will be able to see the wonder and beauty in life.
Write Marie Snider at