Bucket lists and Kubler-Ross

 Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross in 1970. 
 (File/Associated Press / The Spokesman-Review)
Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross in 1970. (File/Associated Press / The Spokesman-Review)

If you've ever wondered why you, or someone else you know, didn't grieve in the stages of grief identified by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross 40 years ago, wonder no more.

Turns out that grief experts in recent years are rethinking those stages. At a Hospice Foundation of America teleconference today at Hospice of Spokane, researchers discussed the new models used to talk about grieving.

With due respect to Kubler-Ross, they said the stages she identified -- denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance -- made grief seem like a mechanical car wash.

Now, grief experts say grief processes are much more individualized. One of my favorite new models they mentioned is the "task" process. In other words, what tasks remain undone for the dying person?

They said the term "bucket list" (made famous in the 2007 movie) is now used in Hospice. But for dying people, it's not usually skydiving.

Some examples given at the teleconference.

The request for a large hamburger, but the person might take just one bite.

The request to Skype with a child in Europe.

Another great line from the workshop: People in grief do not need to move on, but carry on.

(S-R archives photo of Kubler-Ross)

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Spokesman-Review features writer Rebecca Nappi, along with writer Catherine Johnston of Olympia, Wash., discuss here issues facing aging boomers, seniors and those experiencing serious illness, dying, death and other forms of loss.




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