They say there are 5 stages of grief – denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.
The first thing my counsellor tried to check was whether I am in denial. Then he told me to wait for the anger. I didn’t continue counseling long enough to determine when the other 3 stages should show up.
I may have written this before, but I sometimes feel I am still in denial. I mean; how could he be gone? It doesn’t feel like it. And I don’t have any anger, not any visibly apparent. When I do realize that he isn’t there anymore – for example when I came back home from a walk today – all I feel is a deep sadness. That’s no stage at all! But maybe I am angry that he isn’t there. The birthday/ anniversary party that I have planned is pure spite. Just because he left, why shouldn’t I enjoy my special day. That’s sick really!
I am bargaining too. I’d do anything if I could switch places with him in the car. I’d do anything to get him back. And there is also guilt that accompanies this. Guilt at being here while he is not. Guilt about things that we could have done differently. Guilt for what is, and what will be, and what he will miss out on. I’m also trying to relive the past, through pictures, and memories. I’ve made it a ritual to share his posts from years past on Facebook. I know it’s temporary, all this will be old news in an year. I have been asked to stop doing it by friends. But I can’t. I have to share them, just as a way of keeping him alive for a little while. That’s a bargain too – I get an extra year!
I’m not sure about the depression – is it already there or yet to arrive, or will I be able to miss this step. What I do know is that acceptance is a long, long way ahead.
And while I work my way around in this maze, some things do help – mostly words. A friend shared an article with me – a redditor’s advice on grief – and it resonated so well with what I am going through. Here are some things it said:
- I wish I could say you get used to people dying. I never did. I don’t want to.
- As for grief, you’ll find it comes in waves. In the beginning, the waves are 100 feet tall and crash over you without mercy. They come 10 seconds apart and don’t even give you time to catch your breath. All you can do is hang on and float. After a while, maybe weeks, maybe months, you’ll find the waves are still 100 feet tall, but they come further apart. When they come, they still crash all over you and wipe you out. But in between, you can breathe, you can function. You never know what’s going to trigger the grief. It might be a song, a picture, a street intersection, the smell of a cup of coffee. It can be just about anything…and the wave comes crashing. But in between waves, there is life.
- The waves never stop coming, and somehow you don’t really want them to. But you learn that you’ll survive them.
I have drowned in these waves and spluttered back up, I still haven’t caught my breath. I never know when I’m going to start crying, or when my throat will close up. I just know it’s going to happen, and I’ll wipe my face, take a deep breath and move on.
Boy! But is it a long and scary road ahead!