Free Essay Example. Death and Stages of Grief

Published: 2023-08-10
Free Essay Example. Death and Stages of Grief
Essay type:  Process essays
Categories:  Psychology Philosophy Medicine Emotional intelligence
Pages: 5
Wordcount: 1136 words
10 min read

In medical terms, death is the cessation of respiratory and circulatory functions in the body of an individual, which is irreversible. There is the cessation of the functioning of all organs in the body, such as the brain and heart. For death to be ascertained medically, some tests have to be conducted according to medical standards. Based on the results from the tests, then death can be determined (Byock, 2002). On the other hand, according to philosophy, death means access to an ideal world; as a result of the end of the terrestrial life, an individual was living earlier. It is the physical cessation of life, whereby an individual stops leaving and transforms, thereby entering another form and world. The proof of death in philosophy is objective. That is because of the difference in the philosophical beliefs that people are attached to. In most cases, death in philosophy is defined according to the culture that an individual belongs to. As opposed to the medical definition, there are no generally accepted tests to prove death. That is the significant difference that exists between the medical and philosophical interpretations of death.

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Grief is the reaction that an individual has as they experience a loss from their life. It is the emotional turmoil that the individual goes through as they adjust to a new state, in the absence of something they were attached to earlier. In most cases, grief is associated with the death of an individual that was close to a person. There is sadness and emotional, which come as a result of missing the departed soul. There are various stages of grief, which can be illustrated by Wolterstorff's experiences. The first stage of grief is denial, which is whereby we try to avoid thinking about the loss that has occurred. The individual is in shock, trying to cope with the situation. In the case of Wolterstorff's experiences, it came in the form of isolation from other people; family, and friends. That was because he felt abandoned in his grieving and suffering from loss.

The second stage is anger, where an individual is facing frustration from the emotions bottled up in them. Anger is expressed on Wolterstorff's experiences by cutting off from people. That was because other people seemed happy and going on with their lives, getting married, and being happy. Furthermore, thinking about the loss and how he did not deserve it brought up emotions, which ended up making hi angrier in the long run. The third is the stage of bargaining. The stage is characterized by seeking a way out of the grieving process but in vain. In the case of Wolterstorff, he found happiness in various activities he enjoyed earlier in life (Kübler-Ross & Kessler, 2009). However, the thought of the loss he had incurred could not let him have the joy he thought he deserved. Therefore, he continued to have a battle inside him, fighting for normalcy, but all efforts in vain. The fourth stage is depression, whereby an individual experiences sadness and being low emotionally. In the case of Wolterstorff, he was depressed at the final realization of the inevitable loss he had incurred. The fact that the entire situation was irreversible made it worse, as there was the feeling of emptiness, in addition to grief. Lastly, there is the stage of acceptance, where an individual comes to terms with the loss. They accept the implications that the loss has had on them, and they decide to move on with their life. In the case of Wolterstorff, he chose to embrace change in terms of his loss and decided to live without negative emotions.

After the loss, Wolterstorff finds joy through the hope for a better future after the loss. The better future is through the reunion with his son, through resurrection. The primary cause of grief to him was the fact that the union between him and the son was eradicated. That was through death, which was a significant loss to him. He had established a strong bond with the son, and the thought of the son being taken away from him was sad. However, after the final stage of grieving, he found solace in the thought that there would be a reunion with the son in the form of resurrection later. That hope gave him joy, which he did not have in the course of the multiple stages of grief. The hope of resurrection plays the role of comforting Wolterstorff through the thought of a reunion with the son (Wolterstorff, 1987). The son was an integral part of his life but had been taken away as a result of death. However, with the hope of resurrection and a reunion, he was relieved, hence became joyful again. The sorrow that was caused by death would be eliminated through the resurrection, which had a comforting effect in the long run. The comfort and acceptance of the loss enabled him to get rid of the grief.

According to Biblical teachings, death came as a result of the sinful nature of man. As a result of the sin committed in the Garden of Eden, the man was punished, which was in the form of death. Therefore, the significance that death has for Christians is to encourage them to live a righteous life. With a moral life, there will be hope of resurrection after death. Only the people that lived a virtuous life will have joy at the resurrection. That is because they will be rewarded for the good deeds they had in the course of their life. Therefore, as a result of death, Christians should not feel hopeless and be filled with grief. They should be hopeful of a better life after resurrection, as a reward for their good deeds. As a Christian, it is essential to understand the grieving process so that we have hope through all the stages. The different stages have various characteristics, which have devastating effects. When the stages are understood, an individual can deal with them in the best way. The best way is through the use of the scripture for guidance and hope. Through the hope of a better future after the grieving process, an individual is able to have peace. Furthermore, by understanding the grieving traditions and approaches in different cultures, it enables a Christian to help others to deal with their grief in a better and more comforting way. That leads to better outcomes after and during the stages of grief.


Byock, I. (2002). The meaning and value of death. Journal of palliative medicine, 5(2), 279-288.

Kübler-Ross, E., & Kessler, D. (2009). The five stages of grief. In Library of Congress Catalogin in Publication Data (Ed.), On grief and grieving (pp. 7-30).

Wolterstorff, N. (1987). Lament for a Son. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing.

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