When going through life, a Type A personality like me, likes things mapped out. God, in His oh so funny sense of humour, created life to be much more exciting than a neatly mapped out beginning, middle and end.
Isn’t this list of stages nice and neat?
The thing is, when grieving, you don’t go through each stage one after the other. You experience one, skip another, come back to a stage you’ve already experienced. And sometimes I find that I go through every single one of these stages in the course of a day. It’s exhausting.
Recently someone brought the following curve of the stages of grief forward to me. It makes so much sense to me:
Although I bounce around in many of these areas, it feels like I am bouncing around the bottom of this curve these days.
Disorganization. This is driving me crazy. I can’t think straight. I forget stuff. All. The. Time. The other day I missed the turn off to our home and only figured it out 10 minutes later. This is soooo not like me.
Panic, guilt, loneliness, isolation, depression. I can’t wait to get out of these stages. I haven’t had anxiety attacks in years and they are creeping up on me and it’s exhausting telling my brain how it’s supposed to work. I think a part of me knows that even though I feel like I am taking things slow, it may not be slow enough, which brings up the factor of isolation and loneliness. Not enjoying those either as I try to figure out how to cope with these physical symptoms of grief.
I think I am on the cusp of “Re-Entry Troubles” in that I “know” I need to redefine who I am after the loss of Mikail. I’m just not sure how to go about that, or what that looks like.
So, I bounce around the bottom of this curve a bit and hope to be on the upward swing sooner than later.
I hope these visuals will be helpful to someone else walking the journey of grief themselves, or alongside someone they love.
Dear Iris, we have friends in common and they directed me to your blog. I can say too that most days I am swinging back and forth on the bottom of that curve too. (we lost a daughter at 14 months four years ago today with a heart condition and a little boy born healthy last August who died very suddenly at 10 days from a stroke) I am forgetting stuff constantly too. I often feel angry that I have to think about 're-entry troubles' at all. My child isn't supposed to be dead. Grief is messy stuff, nothing straight forward about it at all. Thanks for sharing this. Wish you and I could meet one day. Hugs to you, Kendra
Oh Kendra! My heart aches with you. I'd love to sit down and chat…or just sit…and cry…whatever we would feel like in that moment. Love and prayers…
Redefining who I am without him… yup. I have already been grieving, as part of this process, my identity as his mother and all that entailed. Hugs to you, Iris.
Dear Iris, I came across your blog when I was searching for \”stages of grief\” – but for entirely different reasons than yours. Your post helped me because my grieving comes from a recent break-up. Obviously, nothing at all like losing a child and I don't mean to diminish that pain at all. I was just looking for words of comfort and support because even the closest people around me tell me to \”get over it\” and \”move on\”. I have found that different people handle grief (however it comes) in many different ways. I can be fine one day and the next (or maybe the same day) be angry or break down in tears. (Your paragraph starting with \”The thing is, when grieving, you don't go through each stage one after the other.\” has resonated with me , giving me a little bit of validation.) I spoke to a therapist friend and she said that at my age, it is probably mood swings, but I don't have those under \”normal\” circumstances. I just took his leaving as a huge surprise and I know it's grief. Thank you for your words. I'm a blogger also and it is often very satisfying (and a form of therapy) to know that through your experiences, you are helping others. You have helped me tremendously. Count me in as one of the many people out here that send love and comfort to you (and prayers for your little boy as he waits for you in Heaven).