Before I lost both my parents, I wished they had sat me down and taught me a thing or two about how to understand grief.
I never imagined what it would be like. I couldn’t…no one can. I knew losing someone you loved was hard, but nothing could have prepared me for the actual thing.
This past Monday on IG live I shared my experience with grief. For those of you who don’t know my story, here’s a quick rundown.
In 2010, I lost my Mom suddenly and spent the next four years dealing with seven stages of grief in a very intense way. I even wrote a book about it – Dancing At the Crossroad – A Grief Recovery Journal.
With all that I’ve been through I really wished my parents had sat me down and shared with me something that could have helped me deal with this.
Not knowing how to understand grief and not being prepared for it, was a real shocker that blindsided me for a long time. In hindsight, what I can tell you that everyone’s grief experience is different and you should have no expectations whatsoever. Here’s what I wish my parents had shared with me about what I’d feel after they were gone.
What you feel a lot of is numbness that may last for weeks. You may deny the reality of the loss at some level, in order to avoid the pain. The shock provides emotional protection from being overwhelmed all at once.
This stage is probably one of the biggest and most important that people go through once they start processing the reality of what happened. Some examples of emotions you feel are deep mourning, sadness, tremendous confusion and discomfort.
As you continue to process your loss, feelings of guilt take center stage over for the things you felt you could have done differently. the pain you feel is excruciating and almost unbearable, but it is important that you experience it fully, and not hide it, avoid it or escape from it.
Some emotions you experience during this phase are sadness, guilt, desperation and betrayal.
I call this phase the ‘take score phase’ because this is where you police people’s actions and score them based on your interpretation. You’re angry and want to lash out and at anyone and anything that does not provide the solace or answers you seek. You start bargaining about bringing back your loved one and consider if only…
This may a good time to seek grief counseling if you haven’t already. Examples of emotions during this stage of grief are anger, a lot of resentment, bargaining and general stubbornness.
Just when you think you are getting on with your life, isolation overtakes you. This is a normal stage of grief, and advice and encouragement from others is not helpful to you during this stage.
The true magnitude of your loss finally comes to light, this may contribute to your depression. You may isolate yourself on purpose, and focus on memories of the past. Feelings of emptiness or despair are normal.
Examples of emotions during this stage of grief – depression and frustration.
At this stage, you start to adjust to life without your loved one, and things become a little calmer. Physically you are doing better and your “depression” begins to lift slightly. It will seem that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Examples of emotions during this stage of grief – motivated, stronger, awake.
Whooo! You are out of the tunnel…almost. You start to feel alive again and planning for the future is on your agenda again. You are now strong enough to make financial and life-changing decisions and you can begin reconstructing life in the absence of your loved one. Examples of emotions during this stage of grief are inspiration and determination.
If you find yourself currently in this stage, we recommend checking out our previous post – 6 Wellness Trends You Should Know About in 2021. It would be good for your overall health to start adopting some new practices.
At last, you are in the clear! The very last of the seven stages find you in acceptance the reality of your situation.
Although, you will still be sad, the pain will not be excruciating. You will welcome joy into your life again, which is good because it is what your loved one would want for you.
Catch part of the replay of our interview from last Monday as Founder Mell shared 3 ways to deal with grief, from her experience. Hopefully this will give you a better idea of how to understand grief when you do experience it.
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