OH, THE MEMORIES I HOLD: STAGES OF LOSS

 

“Should you shield the valleys from the windstorms, you would never see the beauty of their canyons. “ ~Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

Grieving is difficult. We grieve losses of family and friends, and even our pets. Lost or stolen objects can also be a source for grieving.   Such setbacks can take a toll in our quality of living. A flood of sadness, anger, guilt and sometimes fear interfere with our dreams and it becomes difficult to make rational decisions. Sadly, it takes time to manage the journey of loss, and to deal with the depression that follows.

Remember the stages that we go through to grieve loss? Elisabeth Kubler-Ross introduced us to the stages. Let’s take a look at them:

Denial

Most of the time, we do not realize we are in denial. Denial is a subconscious defense.   It comes from, anger, shame and all those fuzzy feelings that we are not ready to deal with. Essentially, denial is protecting us from all of these fuzzy feelings. It keeps it from hurting and disturbing us. Remember the moment when you first become aware of the loss? A shock, a panic, a hurt. It was too much to deal with, and that’s when denial manifests. Have you ever wondered why smokers smoke despite health warnings? It’s some denial that takes place.

Anger

We do not want bad things to happen. Then when they do not happen the way we wish, the disturbing difference can stimulate anger. Some may experience this as a frustration or annoyance. It’s awkward to think about experiencing anger when someone departs, but it is there. The core of anger stems from hurt and the repetitive self talk when we say “Why did they have to leave?”

Sadness

Of course we are sad when we experience loss. No matter whether it is a universal catastrophe, like tornadoes, hurricanes, wars, and earthquakes, or someone we deeply care for. Loss creates sadness. There may be a struggle to avoid it, and in that struggle the sadness grows. Sadly, the graceful way to lessen its grip is to embrace it.

Bargaining

Remember those times when you replay the process before the loss? You think what you might have done differently to keep the loss from happening. If you only said certain words, or went a different way or did something you thought about or not do something you thought about. These “what ifs” are repeated. How could it have been different. It is a struggle. It is a way of thinking to correct what is.

Acceptance

The time does come when we accept the meaning and value of the loss. When this happens, the memories can be appreciated. The memories can be empowering and help us in our growth. Yes, there may be lingering sadness as healing develops. Acceptance is learning and holding to the memories.

Here is a reverse poem that I wrote about loss. It is reverse, so follow it to the end, wait for a couple of seconds and watch what happens:


Wishing you growth and peace in the sorrows you face in life.

2018-02-26T17:11:43+00:00