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My Story of the Journey Through the Grief Process – Article II

Learning how to cope with my loss forced its way to the top of my to-do list. I had to do something and quickly. I slept in two hour naps, did not know if I ate lunch or not. Hated to put gas in my car, and when I could not stand the dirt any longer, I ran it through an automatic car wash place.

The grief process is the same for every loss. We do, however, move more quickly through the process when the loss is insignificant but the process is the same. And, we must finish the grief process to find healing that is available to us. You see, when we permit the attachment to someone or something, we place ourselves in the position to grieve when we lose them. How great we perceive the loss to be determines how empty we feel. The degree of emptiness determines the pain.

I learned many things, one of them being the number and names of these stages of grief vary depending on who your are reading. I think I lived six stages, and I called them: shock, denial, anger, depression, understanding and acceptance. There is no exact order for these stages to come and go. And I learned that sometimes I dealt with a stage more than one time, and there were times that I dealt with more than one stage at a time, too.

Denial becomes a buffer for our emotions, a safety zone, so to speak, when we consciously or subconsciously realize death is imminent. From the beginning of my husband’s short illness, I lived in denial. There was no way I could or would consciously admit to myself he was really sick enough to die. After all, if I did not think it, my husband would not die. Thus, death was not a word that I allowed in my mind, until less than 12 hours before Bill died. And then, the nurse recognized my problem and sort of gave me a gentle and kind “talking to.”  At last, I faced reality.