New Ways To Think About Grief

A five-page adaptation from The Truth About Grief: The Myth of Its Five Stages and the New Science of Loss, has just been published in the current issue of Time Magazine.

“New Ways To Think About Grief,” Time Magazine, January 24, 2011,9171,2042372,00.html

2 Responses to New Ways To Think About Grief

  1. Shortly after my Wife of 57 years passed away on 01/29/11 a friend sent me the “Good News…” article. Of all the sources about dealing with grief which load my livingroom table, this one makes the most sense To Me. I have reread it many times, each time getting new insights and coping strategies. I am approaching the 6-month milestone and find that, as Ms. Konigsberg writes, the sharp pains are beginning to subside, never to disappear completely.
    I am grateful for comfort she has given me.

  2. I’ve just read the Time article to get a summary of the author’s thinking. As a clergyperson for almost 30 years, I’ve seen a number of people live through loss and grief in a variety of ways, and have done so myself. I have found that people often experience the feelings that Kubler-Ross’s identified (as well as others), but it is been clear to me for many years that we do not expereince those feelings in systematic stages, but rather in unpredictable roller-coaster fashion not unlike the oscillating graph shown on this site. My own (admittedly anectodatal) take on grief is that the plethora of intense feelings we typically have for some period of time are the psyche’s way of honoring the importance to us of the person (or job or marriage or…) that have been lost. Once we have done that to the degree each needs, we are ready to move on in our lives.

    What I continue to observe is that while the varieties of approaches to “grief process” described and debunked in the Time article are widespread in the culture, it is also the case that in practical terms our culture often leaves little space and time for grieving. People are routinely expected to be able to return to normal functioing, especially in the work world, within a week or two of a major loss as if nothing significant had happened. There seems to be a disconnect between the possibly over-developed psychological approach to the inner “work” of grief and an under-developed acknowledgement in the public world of the functional challenges that people in the early, intense time of grieving often face.

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