Ive often been asked, “whats the purpose of this blog?” “Whats the point of it?” “Why write at all?” “Doesnt it cause you more grief than its worth?” “Doesnt it just make the people in her life and her just hate you more?” Truth is…they dont…Im rarely a blip on their radar. Im of no significance to her or her circle. So it doesnt cause me any grief. And as for why to write…. Well up until now, my answer has been this:”I never want anyone else to stumble around in the dark, in gut wrenching pain; with no help…no direction…and no idea of how to keep breathing.” But in my restrospective reading of my personal journal and this blog (yes theres a lot about my life and this experience that I DONT write here…I couldnt do that to her…yup still love her deeply) ive discovered that the documentation of this journey was necessary for me to find the 7 stages of grief and rebirth. Of all the people that while well meaning, misguidedly advised me with the most ridiculous of notions….I never once heard anyone really give me permission to complete this process. Except for my therapist….God bless Jim. I asked him at our last session why he didnt share these steps with me. He said that with my personality I would have been busy checking off my progress instead of truly experiencing them fully. You know, as usual, he was right. Now that im in the last third of the steps to recovery…I can see the purpose and appreciate the journey…I guess I should detail the steps as I have experienced them. FYI: The “modern day church” is thoroughly inept, clueless and generally unconcerned about this area of minstry…so if youve found a church that does this well…they are very VERY rare. But most times, the church is NOT where you want to go for this kind of help….sad to say.
7 Stages of Heartbreak & Grief
1. SHOCK & DENIAL-You will probably react to the loss with numbed disbelief. You may deny the reality of the loss at some level, in order to avoid the pain. Shock provides emotional protection from being overwhelmed all at once. This may last for weeks.
2. PAIN & GUILT-As the shock wears off, it is replaced with the suffering of unbelievable pain. Although excruciating and almost unbearable, it is important that you experience the pain fully, and not hide it, avoid it or escape from it with copious amounts of alcohol, drugs or even suicide (I admit to it openly).You may have guilty feelings or remorse over things you did or didn’t do with, for or to try to keep your loved one. Life feels chaotic and scary during this phase.
3. ANGER & BARGAINING-Frustration gives way to anger, and you may lash out and lay unwarranted blame for the death on someone else. Please try to control this, as permanent damage to your relationships may result. This is a time for the release of bottled up emotion.You may rail against God, questioning “Why me?” You may also try to bargain in vain with God for a way out of your despair (“I will never disobey you again if you just bring him/her back”)
4. “DEPRESSION”, REFLECTION, LONELINESS-Just when your friends may think you should be getting on with your life, a long period of sad reflection will likely overtake you. This is a normal stage of grief, so do not be “talked out of it” by well-meaning outsiders. Encouragement from others is NOT helpful to you during this stage of grieving. During this time, you finally realize the true magnitude of your loss, and it depresses you. You may isolate yourself on purpose, reflect on things you did with your lost one, and focus on memories of the past. You may sense feelings of emptiness or despair.
5. THE UPWARD TURN-As you start to adjust to life without your dear one, your life becomes a little calmer and more organized. Your physical symptoms lessen, and your “depression” begins to lift slightly.
6. RECONSTRUCTION & WORKING THROUGH-As you become more functional, your mind starts working again, and you will find yourself seeking realistic solutions to problems posed by life without your loved one. You will start to work on practical and financial problems and reconstructing yourself and your life without him or her.
7. ACCEPTANCE & HOPE-During this, the last of the seven stages, you learn to accept and deal with the reality of your situation. Acceptance does not necessarily mean instant happiness. Given the pain and turmoil you have experienced, you can never return to the carefree, untroubled YOU that existed before this tragedy. But you will find a way forward.
You will start to look forward and actually plan things for the future. Eventually, you will be able to think about your lost loved one without pain; sadness, yes, but the wrenching pain will be gone. You will once again anticipate some good times to come, and yes, even find joy again in the experience of living.
Someones at step one right now. I vowed I would never let anyone struggle blindly down this stretch of road in the dark as long as im breathing. Dont get me wrong, I had an awesome family (not blood) carrying me part of the way and encouraging me the rest. But I had no clue of what to do or where to go or what to expect…what was normal and what wasnt. I hope this provides some of the clarity that I desperately needed….and if no one else gives you permission to….I will….take as much time as you need on each step..no matter WHAT ppl say….its your heart….take all the space and time you need to mend whats left of it. The broken crumpled mess that you were left as after emotionally jumping with no safety net on only a promise to be caught……has taught u…NEVER jump and ALWAYS wear a parachute bc u may fall….& keep ur feet on the ground….that fall hurts far less…and the trip to the ground is a lot shorter. ..get well soon my friends…get well soon.