Contrary to what people think about GRIEF, it’s the little things. It’s not one giant reminder that propels us into a cascade of tears.
It’s the ornament forgotten in the box. The musical globe unpacked from the Christmas tub. The long forgotten shirt hidden in the back of a closet. It’s the inability to text with a question or sarcastic comment. It’s the memory of a long ago childhood that has been carefully tucked away.
Grief, 5 Stages
Elizabeth Kubler-Ross identified 5 stages of grief that must be gone through in order to move forward. I don’t think we ever recover, we just learn to live a new normal with a void in our lives. I have abbreviated the steps for this post, however for more information, follow this link.
*Denial – we have all been victims to denial. This is especially true when we have lost someone we love. Words such as “no, no, no, or in my case, “Mike Who” inevitably come out of our mouths as we try to convince ourselves that couldn’t have happened. We tell ourselves and others anything to create the illusion that what is happening isn’t real.
*Anger – We become angry…sometimes at the person, sometimes at the world. Furthermore, we question why that person would have been in that specific situation, why they didn’t help themselves, or why we didn’t help them. Anger is debilitating and often comes alongside guilt.
*Bargaining – We play mind games with ourselves and try to make deals with God. We think “if I can do this and that, than he will be OK” and so forth.
*Depression – heart wrenching, deep and dark feelings of emptiness or pain. Feeling as though the world will never be the same…and it won’t, however being in the present hurts, so it is easier to live in memories.
*Acceptance – you understand the loss is real and recognize the your life has changed. While you realize you will move forward, it is one small step at a time before you begin to find your new normal.
A New Normal
Many of us don’t like change. We become comfortable in our predictable lives , therefore anything that occurs to underscore that normalcy is difficult. When we lose someone we love, it seems like everything in our lives feels in chaos. The predictability of a text, a phone call or cry in the night is gone. The ability to walk into the kitchen and see our loved one has vanished. Their smell, touch and the sound of their voice is just gone.
Consequently, a new normal is what life looks like after that loss. While looking at us from from the outside it may not appear to be terribly different, however on the inside, many of us are forcing ourselves to get out of bed and face the day. Hence, others don’t see the struggle to go to the store and not shop for something special for our lost loved one, or see the sad smile as a long forgotten song begins to play.
A new normal means something different for everyone. With the holidays, keep in mind that not everyone will be celebrating this year. Respect your friend who has no desire to put out a Christmas Tree. Let them do things their way. Let them grieve. Share their memories and let them keep their loved ones alive.
Circle of Life
If only the Circle of Life was as easy as watching a Disney Move; consequently, we cry, we laugh, we go on with our day. The circle of life continues everyday; however, it seems like some days are just more difficult than others. Shoot, maybe some moments are more difficult than others. Don’t personalize your friend, for sometimes the anger is overwhelming and you are the unwilling outlet. Consequently, forgive them and just let them be as they learn how to live their new normal.
And most of all, to everyone who is learning to find their new normal, God bless. Do what you need to do for you. Hold the little things close, and the memories of your loved once closer. Furthermore, I give you permission to grieve your own way.