Jessica Weisberg is an award-winning writer and producer. Her writing has appeared in the New Yorker, The New York Times, Harper’s, Guardian, and the Atavist, among other publications, and has been nominated for a National Magazine Award. She was nominated for an Emmy for her work as supervising producer at Vice News Tonight on HBO; previously, she was a producer on the podcast Serial.

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Death’s Best Friend

Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

Elisabeth Kübler-Ross later applied the same five stages she identified in the process of dying—denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance—to the process of grieving. As with dying, she never meant to imply that grief was contained to just five feelings, or that the stages were linear, like levels in a Nintendo game. “They were never meant to tuck messy emotions into neat packages…. Our grief is as individual as our lives,” she wrote in On Grief and Grieving. Kübler-Ross found it laughable how some doctors had the gall to hold an essential organ in their hand but had no capacity for ambiguity.