Five Stages of Grief

Penn State Mourns Source: November 2011, us Penn Staters have endured an onslaught of attention, unlike anything we had seen or dealt with before.

See, we were used to flying under the radar.   You only knew if you were a part of the family, a part of the culture.   We don’t like being under a microscope, whether for good or for bad, because you truly can’t understand our kind unless you are one of us.

A co-worker commented to me after this year’s Blue White game that Penn State is the only school where 50,000 plus people show up for a scrimmage.  And one without regular scoring at that.

So I can’t help but feel like this entire ordeal is very similar to how it feels when when your family is torn apart (whether by death, disease, fighting, etc.).  I feel like I have experienced grief in its truest forms.

According to the Kubler-Ross model (and wikipedia), the five stages of grief include:

  1. Denial
  2. Anger
  3. Bargaining
  4. Depression
  5. Acceptance

I have to admit, when someone first mentioned to me on a Saturday morning that this guy Sandusky was going to be arrested/indited on Monday, I had no idea what they were talking about.  See I didn’t grow up with Penn State.  When I arrived at PSU in the fall of 2002, I enjoyed football (and tailgating) with naive bliss.   So it was easy to deny that such a thing could have accured at our beloved university. 

But as time passed, and more and more information came to the surface, I have continually felt both anger that one person (or four) could bring down an entire university and it’s proud alumni and a sort of bargaining with the outside world about how it’s not as bad as it seems and it will all pass over eventually.

But with the release last week of the Freeh report and this week’s NCAA ruling, I hover between depression and sadness for our football players, our current students, our alumni and our reputation and a sort of acceptance because of the need to move forward.

And so we now begin the process, the next phase of Penn State history.  We look to restore it to its past glory, but with a more solid foundation.  Like with most tragedies, the strong survive by leaning on each other and rebuilding brick by brick.

How do you think Penn State can restore the roar and return to glory?

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