5 Stages of Grief / Mad at the world

5 Stages of Grief / MAD at the world
March 25th, 2015

Let’s start with the basic question: What is Grief?  Grief is the human response to the loss of someone or something. The loss may involve a loved one, a job, a pet, or simply loss of a friendship. Anyone can experience grief and loss; however, everybody will handle grief differently. Grief itself, is a normal and natural response to loss. Grief can and does impact your body, thoughts, and emotions. It is important to acknowledge and allow the grief to happen because it promotes the healing process.  Healing is the ultimate end game of grief. We have to remember that just because we are healing doesn’t mean the loss never happened. Healing means that the damage caused by the loss no longer controls our lives.

These are the five stages of grief. I like to call them “the five stages of every situation of life.”

5Stages

I made this as a reminder to myself, but decided to share because maybe you needed to see this as a reminder as well. Many people do not even know this process exists and how necessary it really is.

Officially the five stages are:

  • Denial
  • Anger
  • Bargaining
  • Depression
  • Acceptance

These 5 stages are tools to help us frame and identify what we may be feeling. But they are not stops on some linear timeline in grief. Not everyone goes through all of them or in a prescribed order.

I’ve learned that these stages can be and are used in many situations in life. That’s why I called them the “five stages of every situation of life” process. If you look at these stages and think about your life, I bet you come up with times you have used this process to get through a tough time. The situation doesn’t have to be a death that you are grieving; it could be anything, literally.

I truly believe that these 5 stages are crucial to healthy living. Not healthy as far as nutrition and fitness are concerned, but healthy emotionally, mentally, spiritually. I’ve grown to believe we can get stuck and can’t move forward with life if we don’t process these stages.  I’ve seen it time and time and time again. It’s not always a death, but the process is the same regardless. I believe that this process works for just about anything.

In my case right now, my family has three members battling cancer. My oldest sister has four new tumors, two in her neck and two in her right lung. My Aunt, my last Aunt on my Momma’s side and really the matriarch of the family is battling with pancreatic cancer.  My cousin is dealing with several tumors specifically on his spine. I can’t deny any of this, I tried. This is fact, they are battling cancer and the prognosis isn’t great!  Yeah, it sucks beyond all comprehension to even write those words, but that’s a fact and I can’t change that. I honestly got mad just from writing those words.

I am processing through these stages intentionally for my own well-being and for that of those around me. When I lost my Momma in 2005, I didn’t process through these stages. I didn’t do anything except eat and sleep and work until I found myself deeply, deeply depressed. It wasn’t until I was at rock bottom that I sought help. It’s interesting how at the very bottom of a very dark pit, we can begin to see clearly and begin to change. I did see a counselor, I spoke to my preacher at the time and various others to help me get through that loss and regain a functional life again.

As I deal with/struggle to understand all this, I have entered a new stage in this process, one step closer to acceptance. I don’t mind telling you that I am full of anger!!!!

  • I am mad at cancer.
  • I am mad that we still don’t have a cure.
  • I am mad at God for allowing Cancer to exist.
  • I am mad at what it’s does to families.
  • I am mad at what it does to the people who have it.
  • I am mad that children battle with this disease.
  • I am mad that I am helpless in this situation.
  • I am mad that I can’t fix this and make everybody better.
  • I could go on with this list

Yes, I am mad, but I’m working through it.  Being mad and full of anger is something I consider a waste of energy and not productive at all.  So, here I am compounding the issue with my own beliefs about anger.  I’m human, what can I say, I don’t get angry very often, but it happens. In this case, I’ll accept it as part of the process.

Please know I do not share this for a ‘Sympathy vote’, that’s not it at all. I share my journey as openly as possible with the hope of helping/inspiring another person. Maybe you needed to see that real people grieve. That real people get mad at the world. If that’s you, you are not alone, this is normal, just don’t get stuck there.

I will keep writing about this process as I work through all this ‘stuff’.  I’m certain I will be back to my happy happy happy self in no time.

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