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The Essential Guide to Grief and Grieving by MS. Debra Holland

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chapter 5

Perspectives About Death

Historical overview of death

Modern attitudes about death

Applying the five stages of dying to grief

Different circumstances, different emotions

People in wealthy industrial countries have come to believe death is more “normal” for the elderly than for those who are younger. Children are not supposed to die, and parents expect to outlive their offspring. For the most part, in the United States and other industrialized countries, older people do die more frequently than younger ones. However, what’s come to be seen as the “natural order” of life is really a modern concept.

Before the twentieth century, people mostly died at home, surrounded by familiar faces and in their own bed. Friends and family might ...

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