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Coping with the five stages of grief of Domantas Sabonis' departure

Together, we can get through this.

Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

Grief is an awful beast. It takes its forms in many ways, from many different things. It isn't just devoted to the loss of a loved one. You can grieve when you lose your favorite t-shirt, or when your favorite band breaks up. It is all the same, but grief is never the same.

Still, there are a few guiding principles when dealing with grief. So let's figure out how we can all cope with the loss of Domantas Sabonis, together.

Denial and Isolation

First we close off our doors. We don't let anything in. We don't let anyone help. The only thing that gives us solace is being by ourselves.


From there we move to anger. The denial is no longer working. Instead, we are upset. Why is this happening to us? Why now? There are questions abound that we use to deflect any sort of blame on the situation, even when blame isn't needed. We lash out at others, even when we don't mean to.


Up next is stage where we try and reconcile with ourselves that we might possibly avoid the grief. Instead of accepting the grief as inevitable, we look for an escape. We bargain with ourselves to focus on the positive and ignore the negative. We tell ourselves, well it is OK that Sabonis is leaving, because now we get to see more of Zach Collins and what Ryan Edwards if truly made of. We tell ourselves that the exchange is worth it in the end.


The depression stage is the worst of them all. This is when it all sinks in, and this is when life feels hopeless. Nothing can make anything right. Domantas Sabonis is leaving and this is the worst that can probably happen. We will never see him scream again. We will never see him dunk again. We will never enjoy Sabonis as a Zag again. Ryan Edwards is getting forced into time and he isn't ready yet. This is the worst stage of them all. This is the stage where we can't enjoy life and what it means to root for Gonzaga. Get out of this stage quickly.


This is the stage we will all end up at in a few days. We knew going into this season that Sabonis was a special talent, and that there was a good chance he would head to the NBA sooner than later. We knew that Gonzaga would be a spring board for a successful NBA career. We didn't want it to happen so soon, but we knew it might. This is the stage where we look back on everything Sabonis did in his two years here--an Elite Eight run and a surprising Sweet 16 run. This is the stage where we root for Sabonis to succeed, and we thank him for his time in Spokane. This is the stage where we are forever Zags.