Ministry to the Sick
Part 4 The Ritual: 
Pastoral Care of the Sick

Chapter s56 Ministry to the Dying

Preliminary Questions

Bibliography

Stages of Death and Dying

Prayers for and with the Dying

Sacrament of the Dying:  Viaticum

To Think About

Preliminary Questions

 

 

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Bibliography

Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, On Death and Dying (Scribner Classics, revised, 1997) ISBN-10: 0684842238  ISBN-13: 978-0684842233  

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Stages of Death and Dying

Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, a Swiss-born psychiatrist, in her 1969 book On Death and Dying (Scribner Classics, revised, 1997) ISBN-10: 0684842238  ISBN-13: 978-0684842233 identifies five stages of grief of someone who is dying.

1. Denial and isolation: "This is not happening to me."
2. Anger: "How dare God do this to me."
3. Bargaining: "Just let me live to see my son graduate."
4. Depression: "I can't bear to face going through this, putting my family through this."
5. Acceptance: "I'm ready, I don't want to struggle anymore."

The list was praised and criticized by grief experts. Some said the stages got people expressing their emotions; others said the stages were too rigid. See:  http://www.azcentral.com/health/wellness/articles/0824ross-stages-ON.html

The progression of states is:

1. Denial --"I feel fine."; "This can't be happening, not to me." Denial is usually only a temporary defense for the individual. This feeling is generally replaced with heightened awareness of situations and individuals that will be left behind after death.

2. Anger--"Why me? It's not fair!"; "How can this happen to me?"; "Who is to blame?"
Once in the second stage, the individual recognizes that denial cannot continue. Because of anger, the person is very difficult to care for due to misplaced feelings of rage and envy. Any individual that symbolizes life or energy is subject to projected resentment and jealousy.

3. Bargaining--"Just let me live to see my children graduate."; "I'll do anything for a few more years."; "I will give my life savings if..." The third stage involves the hope that the individual can somehow postpone or delay death. Usually, the negotiation for an extended life is made with a higher power in exchange for a reformed lifestyle. Psychologically, the individual is saying, "I understand I will die, but if I could just have more time..."

4. Depression--"I'm so sad, why bother with anything?"; "I'm going to die... What's the point?"; "I miss my loved one, why go on?" During the fourth stage, the dying person begins to understand the certainty of death. Because of this, the individual may become silent, refuse visitors and spend much of the time crying and grieving. This process allows the dying person to disconnect oneself from things of love and affection. It is not recommended to attempt to cheer up an individual who is in this stage. It is an important time for grieving that must be processed.

5. Acceptance--"It's going to be okay."; "I can't fight it, I may as well prepare for it."
In this last stage, the individual begins to come to terms with their mortality or that of their loved one.

Kubler-Ross originally applied these stages to people suffering from terminal illness, later to any form of catastrophic personal loss (job, income, freedom). This may also include significant life events such as the death of a loved one, divorce, drug addiction, the onset of a disease or chronic illness, an infertility diagnosis, as well many tragedies and disasters. Kübler-Ross claimed these steps do not necessarily come in the order noted above, nor are all steps experienced by all patients, though she stated a person will always experience at least two. Often, people will experience several stages in a "roller coaster" effect—switching between two or more stages, returning to one or more several times before working through it.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kübler-Ross_model

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Prayers for and with the Dying

 

 

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Sacrament of the Dying:  Viaticum

 

 

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To Think About

 

 

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Copyright: Tom Richstatter.  All Rights Reserved.  This page was created by Fr. Thomas Richstatter, O.F.M.  Every effort has been, and is being made to acknowledge sources when the ideas are not my own.  Any failure to comply with the United States Copyright Act (Title 17, United States Code) will be corrected immediately should I become aware of it.  This site was updated on 07/03/14 .  Your comments on this site are welcome at trichstatter@franciscan.org