Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Gamboling with grief.

Grief.   
It is defined as extreme mental suffering or distress over affliction or loss;
sharp sorrow; painful regret.

Grief has to be one of the most keen emotions a person can feel.  The tremendous pain takes root in your very soul and attaches itself to everything you once thought was safe.  For most of my life, I believed this feeling only happened when a loved one passed away.  I figured an emotion of this magnitude could only be felt in those extreme circumstances.  As it turns out, grief is experienced any time something that is considered a great loss occurs...even if the loss is something you choose to give up (smoking, drinking, etc).

Sadness is not a feeling I welcome with open arms.  Instead, I will do everything in my power to avoid it.  I will clean, paint walls, do yard work...anything to busy my mind.  The unfortunate reality is, that sadness it inescapable.  The only way to get to the other side is to trudge through the abyss and allow the natural stages of the pain to happen.

What I have found to be helpful is educating myself on stages of grief.  I realize this could sound hokey to some, but being aware of myself and what's going on has been a key to my survival.  Once I accepted the truth that I would not be first to bypass my sadness, I was (reluctantly) able to move forward.

Denial.
This is where we will all start. "This can't be true."  "This isn't happening." "I won't accept this."  Those are just three examples of thoughts and declarations that will go through your mind.  We will all entertain fantasies how how we really want/ed things to be and how we see/saw things working out.  It's against our better judgement, but many hours will be spent here.

Anger.
"Why me?" "Why did God let this happen?"  Many of us are uncomfortable with anger because of preconceived ideas we have about it; it's bad...it's unchristian...definitely unbecoming.  But hear me...anger is not a bad thing.  Anger can allow us to feel strong and provide some temporary structure in the midst of our loss.  It may sound strange, but channeling anger gives us something to hold on to; something to own.  The feeling can provide some sense of stability...even if it is only temporary.  Obviously, it can develop a life of it's own, if allowed to go too far.  Here though, I am talking about healthy anger.

Bargaining. 
This can take on several different faces and it often goes hand in hand with denial.  We can negotiate with God.  We can make deals with those who have hurt us.  We can even accept fault for what is simply not ours to accept.  We want to look for any possible way to escape the situation we're in.  The feels of desperation are more evident than ever.  It is most helpful to have a special someone walk with you through this time.  They are better equipped to recognize what you're doing and help you refocus. 

Depression.
This is the most hopeless and debilitating stage of all.  Depression can suck any light left right out of you.  It leads us to believe that things will never change.  We will always feel the way we do right now.  It's the pervasive hopelessness that convinces us nothing will ever work out for us.  All I can say, is hold on. 




Acceptance.
One day it happens.  The tears will slow.  We can take a deep breath and realize this is our truth.  
This is now a part of my story.  This will/will not define me.  

Accepting where you are can bring comfort, but it can sometimes lead to confusion.  I wish these 5 steps were always in order and once experienced they could be checked off.  Unfortunately that is simply not so.  There are no time limits to grief, nor are there exact rules.  I've heard it be compared to digestion; there is nothing that can be done to hurry it along.  Eventually it will pass.  You will be able to let go and embrace your new normal.  You will be able to live again.

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