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What inspired this article was leafing through a magazine devoted to examining painful events that our country has recently weathered. The theme of the issue was to view these events through the lens of the stages of grief and adjustment that Elisabeth Kubler Ross identified decades ago. Although I doubt that the writers and editors who put the magazine together intended for it to have a comforting effect, I found the idea oddly encouraging.
For me, tying the difficulties of the past several years to a cycle that begins with loss and ultimately resolves itself through acceptance of disappointments ó and finding a way forward ó seems preferable to some commentatorsí interpretation of the same set of circumstances as part of a downward spiral from which we may never recover.
Grief begins with profound loss, and letís face it, we have been presented with a series of terrible losses over the past several years. Destabilization of the labor, financial, and housing markets have left their marks on many of us, and our problems have not been limited to economic issues, either. Some people have been affected more directly, or more deeply, than others, of course, but itís hard to imagine that anyone has sailed through, completely unscathed. Loss, disruption and instability are common ground that many people share.