I wasn’t planning on any posts today. I didn’t really have anything to say… no “pearls of wisdom” to share. I had a really good day today. Really good. Until late afternoon… and early evening… and mid evening… and later evening… So now that I am feeling quasi normal I have decided that I do have something to say. Grief. The big ugly G-word. I thought I would write about that evil little thing.
If you look up the word Grief in the dictionary you’ll find the definition per Merriam-Webster as “deep sadness caused especially by someone’s death.” Okay… I get it. I really get it…
I D-E-E-P-L-Y get it!! Makes sense. I’m pretty comfortable saying I understand that one.
Elizabeth Kubler-Ross wrote a book back in the 1960s called “On Death and Dying”. She outlines Grief existing in five separate stages: 1) Denial 2) Anger 3) Bargaining 4) Depression 5) Acceptance. The stages aren’t necessarily experienced in that order nor does everyone necessarily experience all of the stages, but it can be a useful guideline for those of us who like to psychoanalyze ourselves or others.
I remember when I first learned about the five stages. It was during a counseling session after my Dad died thirty years ago. I must have been in the anger stage at the time because I was INFURIATED to think that anyone would take MY feelings and wrap them up in this neat tidy little package and give them a pet name!! They were MY feelings and nobody else was entitled to them – let alone analyze them! I call foul!!
I hadn’t thought a lot about the grieving “process” for myself this time around until just this past week or so. I thought what I would write about tonight is what I know personally. Since I am not a psychologist I cannot speak to the technical aspects of Grief, but what I can do is tell you about my process at this point. I choose to do this because I hope that in sharing it might help those of you going through similar issues and – it might help my friends and family deal with me!
I am fairly certain I am entering the depression zone now. I really think it could be more appropriately named – the Twilight Zone (complete with background music!). I have gone between being fine, crying me a river, and being Wacko Woman – and that’s just the first forty-five minutes I’m awake in the morning! I am physically anxious, I am tired, and I am overwhelmingly sad. Tears at the drop of a hat… set off by the most innocent things. Not just tears though… racking sobs complete with the occasional need to catch my breath and wipe my nose with my sleeve… (did I just say that?)
I came into work yesterday morning and sat at my desk hoping nobody would notice the tears streaming down my face, but that’s pretty hard to accomplish given the fact that it’s a small office and there were only two other people there… both men… so no warm fuzzies from my female peeps. But! – they were both very good and respectful toward me… they had to be … Wacko Woman now exists! SHE IS EVIL INCARNATE!!! She lurks beneath the surface and comes out to wreak havoc on everyone around. She is quiet and sneaky. One minute I am fine and then the next thing I know… Wacko Woman appears! She is the part of me that is like bad emotions on steroids! She takes everything I am feeling and magnifies it by 1000… she leaves me feeling vulnerable… she tells me that I am going to drive my friends away because I can no longer be myself. She causes me to second guess everything I say and do. Worry has become a full time occupation that I am not being compensated for. She is seriously messed up!
But as suddenly as she comes… she goes away. And I am fine. For awhile.
Grieving is draining. The worst part is that I fight it. I don’t want to feel this way. I just want to intellectualize everything and be done, but it doesn’t work that way. My entire being is involved. I have a gaping hole in my chest tonight. Maybe tomorrow it will go away for awhile like it did earlier today. I know though that I have to feel all of this in order to heal. Grieving is important… it is necessary in order to become whole again. Grief… is good. I have to experience the fullness of it. Kubler-Ross puts it quite eloquently (she was obviously not in the Wacko Woman stage!) when she said “Make a place for your guest. Invite your depression to pull up a chair with you in front of the fire, and sit with it, without looking for a way to escape. Allow the sadness and emptiness to cleanse you and help you explore your loss in its entirety.” Powerful words… I guess I’ll go get some more kindling…