I believe that we all experience grief and loss. Most of us think of grief in relation to death. Yet all things in life come and go as we develop and grow through the years. Even the evolution of a relationship can trigger grief for the things that “once were.”
Most often, we are able to take in events and put them up against our history and then we make meaning. The greatest gift and greatest curse in our life is that we have the ability to make meaning as we often seek to evidence our narrative (whether true or not). With meaning, we can reconcile an event, giving it purpose. I think grief occurs when we can’t seem to make meaning of an event.
What are the events in life?
All of life’s transitions include death and birth, not unlike a postpartum depression, those graduations that include a job change or move, a family rejection or the evolution of a relationship, disease and infertility... a loss of any kind.
I follow the Kubler-Ross model to process grief. These are the basic experiences while grieving...
Denial - “This couldn’t have happened”
Anger - “ I have to use all of my energy to deny this has happened”
Bargaining - “What could I have done differently?”
Depression - “This is affecting me so deeply, why go on?”
Acceptance - “I understand and feel my love”
Although, I don’t believe grief occurs in a neat order of experience. The grief experience is a popcorn effect, bouncing back and forth between emotions until finally resting in acceptance.
A wise and influential mentor of mine had told me that “it (grieving) takes a year.” It holds true. A person needs to get through seasons, birthdays and holidays... a full turn around the sun before they can realize that they are surviving. It’s after this time passage that you have the opportunity to recognize that grieving is a sacred holding of the eternal.