Grief, huh. What is it Good For? Absolutely Nothing.
This isn’t true but when you’re in the midst of grief it’s hard to see the purpose. It’s hard to see the purpose of Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance. The 5 stages of grief, whether you believe it or not, all serve a purpose.
My Grandma died last month, about 12 days before Christmas. It wasn’t exactly a shock. She was 94 years old and had been in and out of hospice over the last few years. But we were close and it was still surprising when I got the text message. It was still sad. It is still sad.
What is important to take away from this is that you have to let it happen, all of it. Do not fight the grief. It’s annoying and distracting and unpleasant but it has to happen. Denial helps you to survive the grief. Anger can ground you. It gives structure to your pain and acts as a bridge to the other side. Bargaining is asking all of the unanswerable questions. Depression is when the loss settles into your soul. Acceptance is not about being ok with what happened but rather admitting that this is your new reality. You can never replace what has been lost, but you can make new connections, new inter-dependencies. All of these will happen, in whatever order your heart and mind decide these stages will happen. And you have to let them. Lean into the pain, the anger, ask all the questions, and feel all the sadness. You will come out the other side and you will get ok. But you have to walk the road.
And grief can mean more than death. You can grieve the loss of a job, a friendship, a home, or an old way of life. I have many friends that are pregnant now and it’s very real to grieve the loss of their lives before the baby. My brother and his family survived a hurricane last year and lost their home. Experiencing the 5 stages of grief during this time makes sense. Being laid off from a job, any job, even a job you hate will likely trigger the stages.
With the passing of 2018 and the arrival of 2019 it is normal to reflect, and to look forward and plan. Maybe even grieve, or take action. In this New Year try to let it happen. Try to let it all happen.