The Stages of Grieving

I am sure most everyone has heard of some or all of the steps of grieving. The grieving process has been a very slow and painful process. Nothing in life can ever prepare you for losing a loved one. No amount of books can give you the strength to not feel the heart ache and sorrow that you endure from the loss.

For me, the first week after my Mom’s death was tolerable. I started to write easiest but it certainly wasn’t easy. Is was nothing but easy, though compared to the feels that surfaced afterwards it could be compared to such. The first week I was still in shock. There is so much involved with planning a funeral, that I didn’t really have time to grieve. Plus you are constantly surrounded by people.

After the funeral, you go from lots to do and being around a bunch of people to having it all come to a screeching halt. I knew it was going to happen and I dreaded it the most. It is this weird stage where people don’t know how to approach you. They don’t want to bring it up, in case it will upset you…

I did an internet search to look up the stages of grieving. I think the important thing to remember that their are no true rules of grieving. Here a few of the different stages I found.

  • Shock & Denial
  • Pain & Guilt
  • Anger & Bargaining
  • Depression- Isolation, Loneliness, etc
  • The Upward Turn, Reconstructions & Working Through
  • Acceptance

These are some things I have learned the last two months about grieving…

1. Everyone grieves differently. There will be times when you want to talk about it, then other times you don’t… It is important to realize that everyone feels things in their own ways. Just cause a person isn’t acting sad, it doesn’t mean they aren’t feeling it inside. Some people have a hard time showing their emotions.

2. One popular response from people in how to handle the death of a loved one is to keep busy… I wen’t through a stage where I didn’t want to keep busy. I didn’t care for anything. This kind of goes right with number one… Each person deals with death differently. Some people keep busy constantly, others spend their days in bed… The key is balance and length of time… Too much of both without letting any emotions out is probably unhealthy.

3. You aren’t going crazy. There are times that you will feel like you are. For the first month I would get these massive panic attacks, where I would almost faint. There were a few times I thought I would need to get locked up in a mental institution.

4. It is okay to be angry at the person and God. It also alright to express your anger constructively. Scream at the top of your lungs if you have to, in a quiet place I would suggest! 🙂 You also might feel guilt or even regret.

5. Just because you go through a stage it doesn’t mean that you won’t come back to it. I would have times that I come out of the shock to only go back to it a few days later. There is sometimes that you go through more than one stage at once. Like I said previously there are no set rules or timelines. Allow yourself to feel whatever it is you are going through.

6. Being in shock is very natural and can last for extended period of times. I for the first month constantly felt in shock. I couldn’t grasp the reality that my Mom had died. When I would start to grasp it, I would start to have a panic attack. While I am not longer in constant shock I still find myself thinking I can’t believe she is gone.

7. Depression is another natural response to a big loss. If you have dealt with depression in the past be aware of how you are feeling and don’t be afraid to reach out for help. I have dealt with depression all my life and when I started to hit a low point I made an appointment to see a therapist. I have been seeing my therapist ever since. If you don’t feel comfortable with therapy, reach out to someone.

8. When you feel numb you will want to feel something but when you feel something you want to be numb… It is a very vicious cycle.

9. You will always want for more time… I am constantly wishing I would have had just one more day… but if I would have had that extra day, I would want another and so on…

10. When you lose someone who is very close to you, it changes everything. Your outlook changes dramatically. I am learning to not sweat the small stuff. What you might have accepted previously, after a great loss like this changes that.

11. When you lose a parent, you lose your safety net.

12. The sand has started to creep from my life’s hourglass. Death has always been a big fear of mine. Losing my Mom was probably my biggest fear, close second was my own mortality. Now that she has passed I have started to think about my own life and how much time I have left…

13. When your Mom dies you realize that anything is possible and no body is safe. I use to think that nothing bad would come to our immediate family because we all were good people and had been through enough. It never dawned on me that my mother would be taken so soon. Even during her surgery her dying didn’t even cross my mind.

14. Children handle death of a loved one so much better than us adults. I was so worried about how my nieces and nephew would handle the news. They ended up being the ones to console us! They are amazing resilient. My four year old niece told me when I miss “Bih” (that is what they called her, they didn’t call her grandmother.) to close my eyes and she would be there. How amazing is that? A four year old comforting a grown man. What a blessing these three angels have been for us.

15. Listen to the signs. They are all around…

16. One thing I hear constantly from others who have lost someone is that it doesn’t get easier, it just gets different… Hearing this is both comforting and unsettling at the same time. I guess I can see how it doesn’t get easier… Losing someone that close to you, there is no possible way to patch up the hole left in your heart. You just learn to cope with it…

17. Allow yourself time. Let yourself feel whatever you feel. There is no right or wrong feelings.

18. I have started to accept the fact that my Mom has passed but it is a work in progress. It is still hard to believe that she died. I don’t even like saying that word.

19. Cleaning out my Mom’s apartment was very tough. It was too much of a reminder of the loss and I couldn’t finish. I felt very guilty for this.

20. The pain I felt and continue to feel over the death of my Mama, will never compare to anything else I feel in the future… Meaning that nothing will ever hurt me again, as in break me. I use to think I wouldn’t survive the passing of my Mom but so far I am still here…

21. I am slowly working on the upward turn part… The first month was rough, I wasn’t sure how I was going to get through the intense darkness I felt. My depression had a hold of me by my throat and I was suffocating. The last few weeks I have started to see some glimpses of my old self. I have also started to venture out more. I have even had a few dates. I am starting to think about my future.

22. Grieving is a process. It takes time. Do it on your time, not what everyone else thinks you should.

23. I am growing to separate the physical from he spiritual. I got so caught up on the physical form of my Mother that it’s been hard to hold onto her without her physical presence. I am coming to realize that who she was, wasn’t attached to her body. It was just a vessel carrying her love, light and soul.

24. Do the things that others might think you are crazy for doing… Like write the person an email… A week ago I sent my Mom a facebook message. For me it has helped me cope with the loss of not being able to call her, or see her. I am also beginning to talk to her out loud. It has been hard talking to her without hearing a sound back but I am teaching myself to talk to her, without feeling silly…

25. You are not alone. There are so many wonderful people out there in this world. Sometimes it is up to you to reach out to them. The people in your life who love you might think you need space or are afraid to reach out to you in the fears of upsetting you. If you need to talk to someone don’t hesitate to reach out.

26. My Mom is still with me, just in a different way. I just have to get use to the difference. When someone leaves such an mark on your heart they never truly leave you. I am who I am today because of my Mother. She is in everything wonderful I do. Her spirit is all around me. I really need to remind myself of that. I still struggle with believing in what I am not able to see.  I wan’t concrete evidence but some of the most wonderful things are not able to be seen. Love is one of them.

 

Well I guess that is it… Every one I am sure will have their own list of what they have learned from the grieving process but I hope that what I have shared might help someone. Especially the crazy part… When I read that in a book, it was such a relief. lol

Remember that you can’t compare your pain to anyone else, it is your own feelings. There are no road maps to follow or guidelines to adhere to. Just because a person doesn’t show emotions, it doesn’t mean they aren’t feeling pain. Some just have different ways of expressing themselves. Each person goes through the stages differently and at different times. It is easy to try to compare yourself to others but that only leads to trouble because each person is different and you will just feel less if you aren’t where the other person is…

There is nothing in life that prepares you for losing your Mom. I just have to hold on to my memories and look deep within my heart to see her with me. One day we will all be together again.

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