At some point in our lives we will all lose someone close to us, it’s a reality. Grief affects everyone differently and certainly does not follow a road map. What someone feels is completely different to another and can be at different times also. There are 7 known stages of grieving but they do not always follow the known order and there is no set time for each stage, as I said every ones experience is different.
So let’s take a closer look at the 7 Stages……..
1.NORMAL FUNCTIONING…...this could be just before or immediately after the loss.
2.SHOCK AND DENIAL….. at this point there is likely to be
-Avoidance, a change in normal activities or just not wanting to do them anymore.
-Confusion, not being able to make decisions anything from something as minor as what to have for lunch to major decisions like having to chose a new telco.
-Fear, of being alone, what will happen to me now, the future as it is no longer how you planed it.
-Numbness, a feeling of nothing.
-Blame, what could you have done to stop this from happening.
-Frustration, maybe over the loss or maybe simply from how you are feeling.
-Anxiety, from worrying about the little things like the vacuuming not being done to what will happen if a war breaks out on the other side of the world.
-Irritation, over small inconsequential moments and can come across as either sadness or anger.
-Embarrassment, maybe your financial position has had to change or you are embarrassed because of your behavior struggling to cope.
-Shame, very much like Embarrassment above.
4. DEPRESSION AND DETACHMENT..……
-Overwhelmed, not being ale to cope with the loss and all the changes and emotions that has brought.
-Blah, to me this is similar to NUMB, a feeling of nothing.
-Lack of energy, one of the major telltale signs of depression.
-Helplessness, unable to cope alone or do for yourself.
5.DIALOGUE AND BARGAINING…….
-Reaching out to others, a sign that you now realize you need help and others.
-Desire to tell ones story, sharing is good for you and you start to feel a freedom from the grief when retelling the story as opposed to utter sadness.
-Struggling to find meaning for what has happened, putting words to thoughts and feelings.
-Exploring options, looking into relocation, downsizing, new hobbies etc
– A new plan in place, drafting plan for the future.
7. RETURN TO MEANINGFUL LIFE……..
-Empowerment, taking back your life and being prepared to move forward.
-Security, feeling safe in your new decisions.
-Self Esteem, feeling strong to face the world by yourself.
-Meaning, finding a reason to move forward with your life with confidence.
So these are the recognized 7 stages but you may also notice other changes in your loved ones or yourself that could fit into this table of grieving. The most important thing to remember it does not happen smoothly or in a timely manner. Someone could actually start at stage 4 and jump back to stage 2, then 6 etc there is NO set road to travel, so don’t think just because someone is exhibiting one stage that they will just glide peacefully into the next one…..take it from me it ain’t going to happen that way!!!!
I have included here a post I wrote back in October last year based on our very own family journey through these stages……have a little read and I will fill you in on what is happening now, nearly 7 months on……
“As I sit here at my mums I can’t help but feel hopeless.The full weight of dads loss has engulfed her since we returned from our trip. She has now been rocked to her core and all I can do is watch brokenhearted.
There is nothing I can do, no words nor actions that can make it better…….all there is is time. How long? Forever.
Everyone handles their grief in different ways…..we can’t understand each individual’s journey, we’re not meant to. Grief is an extremely personal passage, unfortunately when it hits we are meant to carry on with life. We do, because we can, we need to or simply because others expect us to,
Time doesn’t make it go away, you don’t forget…….you just learn to adjust your life and get through it the best way possible. You need to acknowledge and accept that some days you can do great things and others you can barely move because you are so numb. Most of all you need to be gentle on yourself……no amount of positive self talk will change the journey or how long it will take.
I’ve spent the past 25 years trying to make life gentler and better for my children. I’ve spent the past 3 years trying to do the same for myself……but the reality that I now can’t do anything to help mum is very difficult. All I can do is listen……sometimes it’s hard to do, sometimes I’m busy, tired, or just unable to hear it at the time…
No matter what, grief is different for everyone……we need to remember the waves don’t always roll in gently……they crash and roll over rocks and uneven ground…..learning to stand strong and not get dragged out into the current is the hardest lesson we will ever have to complete……but it’s life and we will go on, if for no other reason than that’s what our loved one would want.
As I write this I can still hear dad say……”when it’s time to put your cue in the rack, there’s nothing you can do about it”. We need to attempt to move through our futures with the strength and courage he showed us as he left.”
So here we are nearly 7 full months later and although there have been improvements along the way we are still having very long, dark and sad days. For anyone that knows my mum she is a little impatient so any improvements should have happened by now and she thinks she should be back to normal and swinging from the chandeliers or something, she still hasn’t grasped the idea of the “new normal”. When I say this I get reminded she doesn’t like this new normal and wants to go back to her “old” self…….I realize this may never happen and we just need to keep working on this new normal.
I am well aware this can and probably will affect her the rest of her life…..all I and the rest of the family can do is be there. Be there through the good, happy, sad and somewhat frightening times for her, after all……she has always been there for us!
None of us really knows what is just around the corner that’s why you should always live your life to the fullest and be extremely grateful for what we have.
Time is our best friend and our worst enemy……we simply need to understand this and just let it happen.