Grief is grief even if its not over something tangible. We still have to go through the steps of letting go, setting aside what was in order to get to the what will become.
There are stages that one has to go through and I’ve listed them for those who may need to recognize them in the losses you may have had or are having in your life:
Shock and Denial: It’s often hard to believe that what just happened really did. Whether it’s an unexpected death, a job loss, loss of material possession or even violation of a sacred trust. We often want so badly to deny this actually occurred, that it’s hard to wrap our minds around it, that it causes a great deal of pain.
Pain and Guilt: After the shock wear off, we are hit with the pain. It is often manifested into a physical one, causing the stress to make us ache, we become ill,unable to focus. They physical emotional pain also cause problems and one can be tempted to dull that with an outside lubricant to coat it and make it more manageable with drugs or alcohol or even sleep.
Anger and Bargaining: After some of the pain wears down to a manageable force, we become angry. Angry at the situation, angry that others are walking around breathing when we are so bereft. Angry at even the person who left us. Angry even at ourselves. How could we have allowed ourselves to become so involved that we are left feeling like this? It can also resort to bargaining. Asking the universe, god whomever has the power to change things, to bring them back, to let you go with them…Not happening of course, but its a valid emotion in us frail humans.
Depression, reflection, loneliness: Just when you think life has come to an even keel…we begin reflecting. Thinking about our lives, how it feels with the loss, the emptiness that is there since there is now a void. Don’t try and set this part aside. Well-meaning people will tell you “suck it up” , and move on since life hasn’t stopped. The thing is..this type of reflection is good for us. It helps us evaluate where we are and how to move forward. In the aftermath of when the loss occurred, things are usually in a whirlwind of movement and we haven’t had a chance to latch on to what our feelings actually are or how to deal with them. You could become so grief stricken that you feel you cannot move forward, and center into a depressive state. That is when its time to find someone to help you..Nobody said you had to deal with grief alone. A trusted friend, family, even professional can be helpful. For myself..I write. It clears the storm from my head and heart and I can set it to private and later on when settled go back and see just how far I have come in my finding balance again.
Acceptance: There is a lot of reconstructive work to go through to get to this place. There is no time limit set. Everyone has their own time frame. Does it mean you will ever get over the loss? Nope..what it does mean is that you can learn to accept that the loss is there and find a way to live life again, with happiness, love and meaning.
We’ve all experienced loss of one kind or another. Those in the northeast have lost material things, family members, peace of mind. they will have to move through these steps as they rebuild their lives. It’s not an easy task, but can be done. For me, the loss of trust, is one that is the most difficult. Those who have held a sacred place within one’s inner core and callously violate it…that is a pain that is harder to deal with. Physical pains heal, materials can be replaced, people who leave us will be remembered..but trust is hard to rebuild. It too, has to work its way through the stages of grief and allow us to become whole. I sometimes have to remember that like any other part of my life, time and moving through the process allows for the healing. We all need that reminder from time to time.