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Five Stages of Grief... My Butt.


Grand Rising & Happy Monday!

Its a beautiful day to talk more about my crazy.

My earliest memories of grief were my paternal grandfather's funeral. I was very young and I don't remember the man at all. But I remember seeing a massive casket in front of the pulpit of a big church that had gold organ pipes in the choir stand. Or maybe the casket was gold. The only crisp memory of that day was one minute, I was crawling on the church pew, and the next moment, I was falling off the pew and hitting my head on the floor. Apparently, I had crawled my baby hands onto a woman's fur coat and she snatched it from under me, causing me to fall.

That was also my first encounter with my mother's flashing temper.

She cursed that woman out so bad I can still feel the venom in her words. Even I knew it was bad and I was at the age of crawling.

But, ever since then, I have hated funerals. Not that they are something that you can like. Funerals are painful. It is the last time that a family will see their loved one's body and there are a lot of emotions that go along with that. Those emotions give me anxiety. Even if I didn't know the deceased personally, I can physically feel the grief of those in the room. The despair of the children and grandchildren. It's rough.

When My Chief died, I almost immediately had anxiety about her funeral. I didn't even want to have one, but her father insisted and promised that he would take care of everything. Not only could I not bear to look at her body in a box, but I would be in a room full of very, very sad people. Her classmates and friends, teachers, teammates, cousins. Just thinking about it made me tired. It was different before because, when I went to funerals, I would sit in the last possible seat as close to the door as possible, dipping in and out as quietly without really getting a feel for the emotions in the room. But this time?

Lord. I had to be front and center.

When I got home from the hospital the night she passed away, I put my kids to bed and my phone had finally stopped ringing, I decided to get on my Googler to find out how I could expedite the process of grieving for my Chief. I needed to be as solid as possible in a week and a half because I would have to drag my introverted behind to her funeral, listen to people extend their condolences and tell me how sorry they are for my loss and hug me. Hugs. Hugs meant touching and I have a gross respect for the law of personal space. I don't particularly like shaking hands and hugs are exclusive to my kids, my parents and sexy time.

That's it.

I looked up all types of things: The Right Way to Grieve, Overcoming the Death of a Loved One, How to Grieve Fast. I needed to streamline this process. I needed to get a hold of myself because I couldn't act a fool in front of these people. I had to be in top shape for all of this "peopling" I was going to have to do.

I read several articles about the 5 Stages of Grief, which apparently were:

  • Denial

  • Anger

  • Bargaining

  • Depression

  • Acceptance

Now, I realize that I do not have a degree in psychology or sociology and, excuse my language but, that's a bunch hot garbage.

My parents raised my brother and I to be seen and not heard, so I have a lifetime of people watching under my belt and, unless these things happened behind closed doors, I wasn't going for it.

After reading dozens of articles, all I had were more questions. Denial? Okay, I'll give you that. Maybe at first. Anger? Abso-freaking-lutely. I was pissed the hell off that my daughter died. Bargaining? How? What are we bargaining, exactly, and who am I bargaining with? God? Why? What can I give Him that He would turn back time and not allow her heart to stop? He has given me everything I have, so He can get it again. Depression was a tricky one. I had been depressed before and this definitely wasn't it. And acceptance was in my face whether I wanted it to be or not.

The lie of the five stages gives people false hope of a process. Processes meant rules and I could do rules. Rules I understood. But this wasn't a process. This wasn't a program like Anger Management or Alcoholics' Anonymous. You couldn't accomplish each aspect like climbing a staircase. There isn't an end goal.

In my lowly opinion, there is only one stage of grieving the death of a loved one and that's acceptance. Accept the fact that your life has changed and there is no reversal for this transformation. No takebacks. The rest of my life will be about how to deal with accepting that my daughter died and what I'm going to do now. That's it, that's all.

Like I said, I don't have a degree in anything (at least not yet), so it's just my opinion. One day I will understand the process of psychology more and maybe understand how this "system" was created. But the most important thing that I will ever do is accept that she's gone and decide where we're going from here. One thing is for sure: there is a lesson in every situation, even death.

You just have to decide what you're going to do with what you're learning...


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