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Stages of Grief

I’ve never understood the five stages of grief — denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.

Well, what I don’t understand is the concept. It suggests grief is a process that has a beginning, a middle and an end, and at any point along the way you can actually stop and get your bearings. That you can look at the grief roadmap and say, “Well, I’ve passed through Denial and Anger, so I should be coming up on Bargaining.”

Then I’ll hit Depression, and once I get to Acceptance, which is only a bit farther, I’ll be home free.

Of course, it’s possible to get stuck in any of those towns — you might hit bad weather in Denial that forces you to hold up for a while.

Or maybe the traffic signal in Anger is broken.

Or, maybe, you have smooth sailing until you reach Depression, and all of a sudden you look at the gas gauge and see you’re completely out of fuel.

But the truth is, grieving is not a journey down a long stretch of road. It’s a complicated and convoluted trek with a lot of hairpin turns and switchbacks. Grief takes you in circles.

In my travel, I’ve managed to avoid Bargaining (I guess I follow a different route), but I frequently find myself going back and forth between Depression and Acceptance. And at any given time I might find myself in Sadness or Desolation or even Hilarity.

It’s been two months since I set out, and still I run the gamut of emotions every day. Some days — or hours — I’m okay with the situation; I can accept that no one lives forever (not on this physical plane, anyway) and it was his time.

And I can even laugh.

But other times, I’m overcome with such heartwrenching sorrow that all I can do is weep and feel the immense void that is the place where he existed.

I have no map. I have no idea how much progress I’m making on any given day, and I never know when I’ll find myself backtracking and revisiting some stage of grief I thought I’d passed through and left behind.

The truth is, there is no map. There is no paved road, no signs and no mile markers. There is only me, machete in hand, hacking my way through a jungle.

Archive

A Strange Deliberation
    posted 10/19/2015

Stages of Grief
    posted 9/23/2015

What Hurts?
    posted 9/13/2015

Say What You Want (and Need) to Say
    posted 8/30/2015

Not Just a Dog
    posted 7/18/2015

The First Law of Thermodynamics
    posted 6/15/2015

Believing in Happiness
    posted 6/5/2015

A Better ‘Why’
    posted 5/30/2015

Pendulum Wave
    posted 5/27/2015

Your Story as You Know It
    posted 1/24/2015

Lessons of the Fall
    posted 11/20/2014

How the Novel Came to Be
    posted 9/6/2014

Mother’s Day Without the Mother
    posted 9/5/2014

Everlasting Love
    posted 2/10/2005
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