There is hardly a path, a map, instructions on how to travel through grief.
The "five stages of grief?" While modeled for both the person who is dying and those who have lost a loved one~ it really doesn't fit for me.
*Denial? Trust me, Im not in denial. Mom has died. I have been preparing for this for three years now. She knew she was dying and so did I. We had countless talks about it, and made many preparations for it.
Mom is gone. Im clear on that. Instead, Id call this stage: "The Hard Core Reality of Loss"
*Anger? Perhaps. But not in the way the Kubler Ross model explains it. I do not feel there is someone to blame for what happened. This is life, and death is a part of it. I do not feel envy or jealousy for those who still have their moms, or are celebrating happiness in their lives. Im just sad I dont have my Mom here today. I would have to say Im more irritated and impatient than angry.Not so tolerant of things that normally would roll off my back. And that has to do with just being entirely drained and exhausted and less capable muster up the energy to smile or comfort you when you complain about your sore toe.
I'd call this stage: "Being Out of Reserves"
*Bargaining? Ive never known bargaining to work when it comes to this kind of life stuff. There is nothing I could have done to vanish that cancer from my Mom's body. I had hoped for more time, I had hoped the clinical trial would help, I had prayed she would not be in the kind of pain I saw her suffer. But there is no negotiating here. I call this stage: "The Wishful Hopes."
*Depression? I feel such a negative association with this word. I will say instead, I am heartbroken. Fully and totally heartbroken. And that may mean I do not feel like attending parties or managing alot of conversations. That may mean I prefer to be curled up at home with the one I love and keep the outside chatter at a distance for awhile. That may mean phone calls and emails will go unanswered, but if that is what I must do, then that is what will happen. Heartache has made the entire world seem totally different, nothing feels the same. Id call this stage: "Simply Being Heartbroken."
*Acceptance? How can I not accept what has happened? Seriously, do I really have a choice? And does this mean I see no purpose in life and no need to go on? No. I will keep on. But Im probably just going to be really really sad for a really long time.. I just have to figure out the way that will work for me. I call this stage: "Finding a Way Through".
Now this is not to say others won't go through different stages, and Im not saying there is a right way or a wrong way to manage grief. I get that everyone has their own way, and everyone should. Im just trying to get clear on what my way is looking like.
Everyone has been really kind.
Mom had more people who loved her than most people would have in two lifetimes. We have lots of support, a strong family, and I know we are lucky that way. I know Mom will never have even a memory of the hideous pain she had. To me, that is worth the sorrow I must now face,.. Because there is no sorrow (for me) worse than watching someone you adore go through torture.
I know she is there, I am sure of this. ~ The adjustment to a new way of communicating will take time to get used to, as will the absence of physical closeness. But Mom was specific at how she would contact us before she died, and sure enough she is keeping that promise. I know she loved me, I know she knew I loved her. There is a ton of peace in that.
Truth is, I am pretty lost. Dreading the journey of grief, but at the same time, feeling the grief is the only way to keep close to Mom. I know there will be a future where I will find other ways to feel this closeness, in memories that bring me smiles and laughter and the wonder of Mom's beautiful life. Im just not there yet.
Thank you everyone,
for being there,
for the cards
and the notes,
and the calls
and the flowers
and the prayers
and the ongoing love.
You are making it easier for me as I feel my through this path I have been forced to take.