The 5 Stages of Grief, Plus One


When my mom was diagnosed with late-stage cancer in July of 2016, part of me began the grieving process. Her illness brought on a rollercoaster of emotions, thoughts, and experiences or I guess what others called it: “five stages of grief”.

  1. Denial
  2. Anger
  3. Bargaining
  4. Depression
  5. Acceptance

Every time it seemed like she made a little bit of progress, it was quickly followed by another set of complications that brought her closer and closer to death. But I held onto a small glimmer of hope, so I offered words of encouragement, sat next to her and talked to her as if we were just in our living room instead of a sterile hospital room – and refused to believe that she couldn’t get past this.

I read testimonials of cancer survivors, researched online for alternative options, and bargained with God to please let her stay with me. And through all of that was a profound and deep-rooted sadness that I’ve never felt before. Little did I know, that I was already going through the stages of grief.

In the months after her death, I made peace with my new reality but that didn’t end any of the grieving process. I continued to cycle through those stages of grief (and never in that order) but this time, a new feeling intertwined itself through each stage: renewal.

I have a new perspective on life. I’d be lying if I said that my new outlook pushed away the grief – but I can say that it helps me endure the pain because the pain will never go away. Knowing anger allowed me to appreciate peace; knowing sadness allowed me to appreciate happiness; knowing disbelief allowed me to appreciate the present; and knowing death allowed me to appreciate life. So I guess through this traumatic event, I’ve become stronger and I feel a sense of peace knowing that I’ll carry my mom’s memory in my heart for as long as I live. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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