“Half working, half dancing”

From America is Immigrants (2019), by Sara Novic:

“Elisabeth Kübler-Ross was no stranger to death. Born in 1926, she was one of triplets and weighed only two pounds. At age five, battling pneumonia, she watched her hospital roommate die.

…she left home as a teen and volunteered to care for World War II refugees. On one visit to the Polish concentration camp Majdanek, Kübler-Ross was struck by the hundreds of butterflies victims had carved into the walls; the images would shape her thinking about life and death for years to come.

Kübler-Ross went on to study medicine in Zurich…When she migrated (in 1958) to the United States, she chose a specialisation in psychiatry. In 1969, she released her most famous work, On Death and Dying, which advocated for hospice care and outlined the five stages of grief for the terminally ill…

But with all her life’s work focused on death, Kübler-Ross never lost sight of how best to keep living. “I was educated in line with the basic premise: work work work,” she once wrote. “This is utterly wrong. Half working, half dancing – that is the right mixture.” ”

Listen to ‘Elisabeth Kübler-Ross and the Five Stages of Grief”, from BBC Witness History, on BBC Sounds.

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