Death is unfixable

Nora Akins

There is a stigma associated with suffering. People don’t want to show it and onlookers don’t want to see it. Grieving the loss of a loved one is a private sadness. Caring communities come together to support those in grief. Workplaces promise a sense of community, yet have much to learn to better support an employee’s grief.

A recent article in Harvard Business Review, "When a Colleague is Grieving," shares research and insight of how workplaces and managers can support employees in grief. Many people are familiar with the five stages of grief described as a steady process from denial, anger, bargaining, and depression to acceptance. This Kubler-Ross Grief Cycle was based on John Bowlby’s three phases of mourning: defiance and anger; pain, despair and disorganization; and slow reorganization and reinvestment in life. The important difference is Bowlby believes grief ebbs and flows. It does not unfold in a progression. Research confirms Bowlby’s belief.

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