Widgets November 3 ~  Light From Within Life Lessons

"People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within." ~ Elisabeth Kübler-Ross


With her best-selling book On Death and Dying (1969), Swiss psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross (1926-2004), born with what she called "a great desire to help," gave the world a pioneering explanation of what we all understand implicitly: Dying is a process.

In working with the terminally ill, she transformed the way we thought about dying, coming up with five main stages:

  • Denial, where a patient says, "not me" and is unwilling or unable to accept a diagnosis.

  • Anger, where the thoughts change to "why me?" once the symptoms (weight loss, pain) make denial impossible.

  • Bargaining, as a campaign to delay the outcome, "I'll change if..." or "Why now?"

  • Depression, or self-grieving, once the realization is made that bargaining is not working and goodbyes must be made.

  • Acceptance, passive readiness to let go, with a sense of detachment, although a glimmer of hope remains.

    With a reputation for courage and compassion, she developed her understanding of these stages while working with blind patients whose psychological response to the loss of vision was similar to the patterns of dying.

    "I know for a fact that there is life after death" she said in 1974. "To me, death is a graduation."

    A pioneer in the hospice movement, her milestone work bridged life and death, teaching that grief and dying are normal. She helped the healing process with a message of hope. In her 1997 autobiography The Wheel of Life, she said that she wanted her death to "come as a warm embrace."

    "My only wish has been to leave my body, like a butterfly shedding its cocoon, and finally merge with the great light."

    Celebrate LifeFor Lorna, May She Rest In Peace.