Grief is messy. There is no other way to describe it. It even sounds awful…grief. Say it out loud to yourself. It is blunt, and to the point. Solid. At least it ends with an “f” so that there is an out-breath when you annunciate it. Say it slowly to yourself now so that you may pause and slow down. When grieving…allowing yourself to breathe and slow down is so important-make it part of your daily routine.
So, if you are reading this you are most likely in pain and in the process of trying to make sense of your world after some kind of devastating loss. Either that or you are a grad student writing about grief and loss like I was ages ago, before grief took the rug of life out from under me.
So, I say these words to you out loud- “Welcome to the grief club.” And I am sorry that you are here, because once you know deep and painful loss, you can never go back to life as you knew it.
I have been so angry and part of that anger is from books & theories and people telling me how I should be feeling, and while it comes with good intention, it sometimes doesn’t help, nor does it make the pain go away.
Someone posted this diagram to my Facebook wall one day. And I laughed out loud and said- “THERE ARE NO STAGES!!!”
Grief is not orderly at all. Period.
It does begin with shock, this is true. I will say that.
But from there you are welcome to ping pong anywhere and everywhere-slowly or you can go to all places in one day.
So, I printed this out and drew my own rendition and renamed it- “The Mess of Grief.”
After I did this, I felt relief, I took an out-breath and I enjoyed seeing my own journey mirrored back with reality.
So, you see, this is your guide, a grief map and basically I did this to let you know that all of it is normal-all the “stages”, all the emotions and all the places it will take you.
It will continue to go on and on.
Somedays you may feel moments of joy followed by moments of complete and utter despair.
Long ago learning about grief and the stages it takes, I did my research and I came across Elizabeth Kubler-Ross who is known for the “Stages of Grief” model. Thank you Elizabeth-I appreciate you and your work.
Kubler-Ross’s work came from her research on dealing with coming to terms with your own death and the stages you go through to accept the reality that you are going to die.
I am not sure how these stages became the model used so often by clinicians to describe the grief process of losing someone so dear.
I did learn from my grief teacher and mentor Alan Wolfelt that Elizabeth did regret using the word “stages” to describe the grief process. She knew that you go in and out of all the different emotions at different times.
I guess the person or people who did this were in their own grief and simply trying to put order into their ‘world turned upside down’.
If if feels right, take some time right now to find a comfortable position and turn your head upside down so you can see the world through that view. I dunno…I have done this numerous times since my loss and it just makes me feel right, even just for a split second. Try it.
Try it-go upside down, then breathe and come back up.
Print this diagram and post it where you can see it and remember to simply let yourself feel it all.
Better yet, print it out plain and then draw your own map. You know-art therapy, can be good at times.
Add some color, and lines, then leave it. Look at it again and or look at it upside down. And then go outside and breathe.
And simply take in the moment of being here, being in this now.
It will get better.
Now you simply have a grief map for the way through and around and up and down.
From Beth, aka “The Grief Freak”