Saturday, May 14, 2016

Stages

Anyone who has been through the loss of someone they love knows the traditional 5 stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance) don't actually happen in that order and often occur over and over, often at unexpected times.   I suppose from a clinical perspective, the 5 stages can help some understand grief a little better.   However, I came across a picture recently that I think explains the stages of grief pretty well.  
 
                         

Let's break these down, shall we?

The Beginning: 
If you've been reading my blog since March 4, 2013, you have seen my beginning.  The beginning is darkness.  It is pain and confusion.  It is heart breaking and soul shattering.   In the beginning, you can't breathe without the jagged pieces of your heart slicing you to bits.  You feel like an elephant is sitting on your chest while the world carries on without you.   You don't want to leave your house, let alone your bed, but you often force yourself to, and when you do, you are bombarded and overwhelmed by things that never bothered you before.  Every minute of every day is spent hurting.  There is no relief.  No break in the constant battering of your heart.   You are drowning.  You spend half of your time wishing to die and half of your time fighting to live, and some days you aren't sure what side will win.   But, you don't die.   Slowly, slowly, slowly, you muster up enough strength to start gathering up your broken pieces to put yourself back together.   You can't always hold them all, and the sharp shards often slice right though you, forcing you to take a break and heal some more before carrying on.   You have no idea what you're supposed to do with all of these pieces.  You just know you can't continue to have them scattered everywhere, covered in your blood.  This brings you to The Middle.  

The Middle:  
You've figured out how to hold all of the pieces of your shattered self.  You've polished them up and wrapped the really sharp edges in fabric so they don't cut you as much.  They slip and slide around, and you still get sliced up pretty often, but you're not the bloody mess you used to be.  For a while, you just carry them around with you because you're not really sure what to do with them.   You realize that many of those pieces are too smashed to be of any use to you now, and although it hurts to see them go, you start leaving pieces behind.   You take what's left and fashion them into something presentable.  You fill the holes with what you find along the way.   As you go, your old pieces, already weakened, start to fall away, leaving even more holes.  So, you continue to patch yourself with new pieces.   You keep doing this until you realize you are made up of entirely different material than what you started with.   You have discarded every fragment of your old self and have rebuilt who you are from the core.  You spend time trying to understand this new person and how she fits in to your old world.   Sometimes, parts of your old world are discarded too.  You just don't belong there anymore.   Every day, you learn more about who you are becoming where you need to be.   The ache in your bones becomes familiar and you begin to walk with less of a limp.  Even though you are covered in cracks and scars, you are stronger than you were before.   Not a moment passes where you don't hurt, but the hurt has become bearable for the most part.   You still have moments where it knocks the wind out of you and brings you to your knees, but those moments aren't constant.   You've learned how to breathe again.   And you come to realize that this is the way it's going to be for The Rest of Your Life.  

The Rest of Your Life:
This is where I am now.  I am not drowning in grief.   I get knocked out of my boat every now and then, but I have taught myself to swim and I know how to navigate this ocean.  I have pieced myself back together into this new person that I am just now learning how to love.  It's been three years.  It's no secret this third year has been really hard for me.  It is in this stage where you realize that it will always be hard.  It will always hurt and you will always have to fight.  But, you've learned super secret ninja skills and you know how.   Most of the time, you are okay.  You still hurt, but you know how to carry it.  Your day to day life isn't consumed with surviving and you're able to focus more on actually living.  Sure, you still get knocked down.  You always will.   But, you'll always get back up.  Because, this is the rest of your life... and you have a long way to go.


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