Obnoxious Cello Guy (OCG) stood up from his perch in the back of the orchestra’s cello section to argue with the Principal Cellist over bowings, or fingerings or God-knows-what. It was the third time that rehearsal. From where I sit in the bass section, OCG blocked my view of the conductor. I missed my entrance three times.
I was mad.
Not just that kind of eye-rolling jeez-what-an-idiot mad, but mad to the point of wanting to throttle the bastard. I fumed all through rehearsal, ranted and raved to my colleagues at dinner, boiled during the concert, fumed all the way home and finally woke up Linda to tell her my tale of being wronged by an insensitive cellist.
This is unusual for me. I’m normally a very easy-going and cool-headed kind of guy, and I rarely ever get mad. It really disturbed me.
“I mean, seriously, Linda—what the hell is wrong with me?”
“Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance,” said the sleepy voice on the other side of the bed, “You’re at Anger.”
Anger. Yep, that would be about right. The Kübler-Ross Model, AKA The Five Stages of Grief, describes the process we humans go through when tragedy strikes—Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance. Put another way:
I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter!
I’m So Angry It’s Not Butter!
If I’m a Better Person, Could It Be Butter?
I’m So Sad It’s Not Butter!
I Can Finally Accept That It’s Not Butter.
In December 2012, my father was diagnosed with advanced esophageal cancer. During an attempt to surgically remove the tumor, the doctors realized that his cancer had spread throughout his body. The surgeon predicted he wouldn’t last to Christmas 2013, but he managed to hang on for two extra months. He passed away quietly in March 2014.
The incident with OCG happened one week after my Dad’s passing.
Somehow I thought I would be immune to the Five Stages. Dad was 81, lived a long and happy life and was pain free and in full mental capacity all the way to the end. Hell, he even wrote and programmed his own memorial service. I really miss him, but I am very lucky that I got a chance to say goodbye.
I’m sure there is an evolutionary reason for the Five Stages. While I understand experiencing loss as sadness, I don’t understand why the other emotions come along for the ride. They crop up at the damnedest times. For whatever reason, we have to pass through the Five Stages of Grief to move on with our lives.
I guess I need to apologize to OCG.
©2014 Tom and Linda Peters