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On Grief and Grieving: Finding the Meaning of Grief Through the Five Stages of Loss

4.28  ·  Rating Details ·  1,184 Ratings  ·  117 Reviews
Shortly before her death in 2004, Elisabeth Kübler-Ross and David Kessler, her collaborator, completed the manuscript for this, her final book. On Grief and Grieving is a fitting completion to her work. Thirty-six years and sixteen books ago, Kübler-Ross's groundbreaking On Death and Dying changed the way we talk about the end of life. Now On Grief and Grieving will profou ...more
ebook, 256 pages
Published July 19th 2005 by Scribner (first published January 1st 2005)
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Dec 25, 2015 Leonard rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: psychology
A powerful guide to grieviElizabeth Kubler-Ross applies the Five Stages model from her book On Death and Dying to grieving. Those who grieve while a loved one is dying or afterwards also struggle with denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. While she confronts her own death, Ms. Kubler-Ross, together with co-author David Kessler, shares the inner and outer worlds of grief. For those who have grieved, some and perhaps many of the issues are familiar. We may be emotionally drained; w ...more
Jan 08, 2011 Amber rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I "really liked" this book as much as you can about a book on loss and grief. I highly recommend it for anyone who is going through grief because of losing a loved one.

I was really reading this to familiarize myself with what a close friend is going through at the moment, but found that it was quite insightful for me, as someone who has also experienced the loss of loved ones. It made me see myself as someone who wasn't totally crazy at the time of my grief. I also realized that someone could b
Jan 06, 2011 Laura rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book served to be my guide to surviving my mother's death without feeling alone, misunderstood, helpless, or -worse- hopeless. This book has validated all the emotions I've felt in my devastating loss by seeing life and death, love and grief through almost every perspective.

"On Grief and Grieving" defines all five stages of loss (denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance), while also addressing and defining grief from a variety of perspectives (when a person dies from suicide, a
Feb 07, 2017 Elizabeth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Still processing and reflecting about this one. Such an insightful, thought-provoking, and heart-rending discourse on an event/events everyone will undergo eventually.
Here's what my three stars mean for this book:

I found this book helpful and problematic. It was mostly helpful in presenting a sort of map of grief, a list of possible ways that grief will manifest itself in the life of the griever and some nuggets of wisdom for living through that process. It also contained helpful affirmations - you're going to feel isolated from other people in the grieving process, that's okay, people experience loss differently, etc. I found it most helpful to read this boo
Aoife Lennon
"Grief is the intense emotional response to the pain of a loss. It is the reflection of a connection that has been broken. The reality is you will grieve forever." By coincidence, I have finished this book on the months mind of someone very dear to me and is also my first significant loss. In short I needed this book at this time - I will probably buy my own copy as I found it very comforting and very powerful.
Mark Cape
May 12, 2013 Mark Cape rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A powerful important book - I read it after my best friend - soul companion - child - animal friend got bitten by a cobra here in Cape Town. I burned so deep - the book put a new ground under me. Grief is such a little word for such and immense thing. I am still amazed at what it really is - a given and absolute - so weird that out of the blue there is such a thing as venom and other things custom designed by nature to shut a whole world down - sometimes within minutes. This is the world were in ...more
Leila Summers
May 24, 2011 Leila Summers rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: self-help
Of all the books I devoured after my husband passed away, this one was most helpful to me. While many of Kübler-Ross' books focus on the dying, this book is for those of us who are left behind to grieve and find our way through an unimaginable and indescribable loss.

On Grief and Grieving begins by describing the five stages of grief which include denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. These can last for different periods of time, or we can go through all of them in one day. This b
Helpful, but did not need the part about the afterlife. That could have been in another book, one I could have avoided.
Mar 03, 2008 Candice rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People wanting a Cliff's Notes, abridged version of grief
Recommended to Candice by: Ann Garrett
A good friend from my young widowed support group strongly recommended this book to us, and knowing the god-like stature Elisabeth Kubler-Ross has in the field of death and dying, I had very high expectations of this book. I have to say, though, it didn't live up to my hopes.

While what it says is accurate, the book felt too glib to me, like an inspirational Cliff's Notes version of grief. I expected more. Perhaps it's just that I've read other grief books that have done the topics more justice,
María José
Este libro es bastante simple y accesible. A algunos les puede parecer un poco sensiblero y con alguna falta de rigor científico. Sin embargo, es una obra imprescindible para acercar los diferentes aspectos del duelo a la población en general. Ésto es algo que es muy difícil de hacer, ya que nadie quiere saber nada de esto hasta que le toca, y cuando le toca a alguien cercano, es difícil saber lo que hacer precisamente porque uno no ha querido detenerse mucho en pensar en ello. No es muy infrecu ...more
Dec 13, 2016 Meredith rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I couldn't be more disappointed in this book. After losing my 33 year old best friend to cancer, I looked to this book as an ultimate source to help me learn about my grief, given Kübler-Ross' reputation. 'On Grief and Grieving' was dubbed "the definitive account of how we grieve" by The New Yorker, as per the cover, so I was excited for what it might offer me. What I found was a poorly written, God-heavy piece, with entire chapters on angels and the afterlife that don't even make reference to t ...more
Michelle Mailloux
This book is titled On Grief and Grieving by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross and David Kessler. This book weaves the theories of death into the 5 stages of grief, along with sharing of the authors’ insight and experiences on life and death. Characters are nonexistent, as the book is more of a reference; reaching an academic publication. Likewise, there is also no setting provided for the reader. The authors expand on the inner and outer worlds of grief, specific circumstances, and the common misconception ...more
Apr 26, 2008 Kristena rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: counseling, self-help
Kubler-Ross, a psychiatrist, was the leading expert on death and grief in the field of psychology. This was her last book, co-written with Kessler, a counselor with many years of experience working with the terminally ill and grieving.

The book is written in short vignettes that are accessible and easy to read, and the first half of it is excellent. The authors describe the well-known five stages of grief and explain how they are often misunderstood. Kubler-Ross describes our society as death-de
Apr 24, 2014 Cherene rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I would highly recommend this book to everyone! It offers a lot of insight into the grieving process, and explains the stages that people often experience. It is addressed to individuals who have suffered the loss of a loved one, but it will help everyone who reads it to understand their own losses and to be able to help others who are grieving as well. I read it from a counseling perspective because a lot of my clients have experienced significant losses. I would highly recommend it to all coun ...more
Bob Grommes
Feb 05, 2010 Bob Grommes rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Kubler-Ross' comprehensive final book, completed shortly before her own death, is about the process of grieving the loss of a loved one -- what to expect, how to cope emotionally. It covers more complicated forms of grief such as the grief surrounding murder and natural disaster. It covers grief and children, grief and sex, grief and pretty much anything remotely related to or impacted by grief.

Although the author clearly believes in an afterlife, she writes in a non-sectarian fashion. The book
 Gloria Maria  Vazquez
This was such an insightful book for me. I highly recommend it to anyone who has gone thru or is presently going thru some sort of loss. Although the authors focused on loss thru death -- those who expierence loss in other ways, such as thru divorce, loss of job, loss of health, can also benefit from the wisdom presented in this book.
Jun 20, 2015 India rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I know I will read this book again, as I have already, to remind myself that my grief is normal, irrational, explainable and unavoidable. Well provided you aren't a sociopath.
Dec 30, 2008 Linda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is hard to read. And yet I feel compelled to keep reading even through the tears. There are times I feel I will need to start reading it again as soon as I finish it.
The Badger
Jul 04, 2016 The Badger rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The absolute best information regarding grief. A must-have for any counselor or psychologist.

Kubler-Ross is outstanding--although you think she'd be over it by now (jk--dark counselor humor)!
Sep 14, 2014 Gail rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 5-star
I truly believe this book may have saved my life
I have experienced grief and grieving many times during my career in health care and in my own personal life with the losses of my two remaining grandparents and my mother in just a little over a year. While it's been tough times somehow I've survived. This book which I stumbled on while reading another book was a wonderful guide to grief. If grief can be called wonderful. It sure doesn't feel wonderful. I decided to read this for many reasons. To help me at work with grieving families and resid ...more
Matthew Smith
Mar 21, 2017 Matthew Smith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very helpful

Simple yet helpful in many ways. A good book to read for those trying to process grief. If you are, read it.
Feb 20, 2017 Colleen rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: grief-grieving
Good grief, this was painful to read. If you are not Jewish or Christian and straight, with perfect relationships, this book will probably be maddening to you as it was for me. So many instances they go off into the supernatural--after-death "reviews" of one's life, and an entire section dedicated to angels. Now, that's fine if that's what you believe, but this is *not* a book generally about grief, then. Should be entitled "Judeo-Christian grief and grieving" or somesuch. It was frustrating not ...more
William Schram
Well-written and poignant, this book is quite heartwarming and helpful. There is a disclaimer at the beginning of the book that tells us that grief is different for everyone, and that if you are really having a hard time you should see a therapist.

Using personal stories and other contributions, this book talks about the stages of grief, but also how grief manifests itself or could manifest itself in you. The five stages are too cut and dry to apply to every single person, and the book addresses
Apr 03, 2010 yexxo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ein geliebter Mensch stirbt - und wie riesige Wellen überschwemmen einen die unterschiedlichsten Gefühle: Schmerz, Verzweiflung, Wut, Zorn, Reue... Wie nur wieder ins normale Leben zurückfinden? Es dünkt unmöglich.
Dieses Hörbuch scheint einen Weg dorthin zu wissen, wie schon der Titel und auch der Untertitel (Den Sinn des Trauerns durch fünf Stadien des Verlusts finden) aussagt. Und in der Tat: Voller Teilnahme und Mitgefühl für die individuelle Situation werden die unterschiedlichen Emotionen
Ypatios Varelas
Jun 13, 2016 Ypatios Varelas rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is a next step to the original book of Elisabeth Kübler-Ross "On death and dying". That book described the 5 stages model of dealing with our own death, while this one addresses those 5 stages related to how we deal with someone else's death. Again, it's a self help book, not addressing scientists, doctors, caregivers, psychotherapists etc.

Because of using the 5 stages model of the author, this book has the same basic issues with the original one (see my review on that to understand).
Jayne Navarre
Feb 08, 2016 Jayne Navarre rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Grieving is an individual process, and that's what I really liked about this book. There is no formula, but there is a path and the book opened that path for me. Reading the stories and advice gave me freedom to grieve, cry, scream, fight, console myself, instead of wandering aimlessly through my pain. It looks at the process holistically. How the body cannot absorb the intense pain of the initial fact, when someone you love is gone, forever more. But the body knows best and will prompt you thro ...more
Alexandra Lehmann
I got confused when I bought this book after one of my childhood friends, mother, close work colleague and best friend (my dog) died in the period of a year. Kuebler-Ross is most noted for On Death and Dying (1969) and I wish I had remembered to read it as my mother lay sick and dying for two years (and was very sick for eight).

Needless, to say, I did find this book helpful as it taught me that the five stages of grief, as she defines them, cycle (they are not upward moving stairs). Grief is an
Oct 02, 2013 Beth rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book was not at all what I was expecting it to be. It was extremely pacifying and at times enraging. My husband and I are grieving the traumatic loss of our infant son and this book in essence is a mollifying broken record of "that's okay to feel a, b, c, d... It's all okay". The people highlighted in the book feel generic and scripted and it's hard to believe that so many have had such profound moments of self realization during incredible low points. While I get that each grieving person ...more
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Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, M.D. was a Swiss-born psychiatrist, a pioneer in Near-death studies and the author of the groundbreaking book On Death and Dying (1969), where she first discussed what is now known as the Kübler-Ross model. In this work she proposed the now famous Five Stages of Grief as a pattern of adjustment. These five stages of grief are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and accept ...more
More about Elisabeth Kübler-Ross...

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“Today, in our “shut up, get over it, and move on” mentality, our society misses so much, it’s no wonder we are a generation that longs to tell our stories.” 4 likes
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