Grief fucking sucks. For the past 8 years, I have read countless articles in an attempt to understand what I am going through. I never got any helpful information from these articles because no one can rationally explain grief and you don’t know what it feels like until you have lost someone you love, someone your life revolves around. Every article has stated that grief is an entirely natural process – but I think this is false bullshit. Nothing about grief feels natural. Those who have experienced grief are familiar with the physical and mental pain that is experienced. Sure the magnitude of grief varies but it makes you feel hollow, it makes every part of your body ache – I think grief may be the only time when you can feel your heart breaking.
When my Mom died, I was told the way I felt was natural. My heart ached for months. It wasn’t that I was just emotionally distraught, but my heart, the organ, felt like the muscles were detaching from one another. That feeling I experienced and continue to experience isn’t natural, so why label it as such? I expected to go through the cycles of grief and then feel normal again. There is nothing normal after experiencing grief, your whole world changes and evolves around that grief – you forget what normal even is.
The Stages Of Grief, In No Particular Order…
1. Denial and Isolation
It has been 8 years and I still have not experienced denial and isolation. I experienced/still do experience anger, but not anger with my mom, anger with myself. I go through waves of being angry that I didn’t stay with her the night she died. The night she died she asked me to stay the night, I could have been there when she died but she died alone – I think that I will forever be angry with myself. I was angry with everyone except my Mom. I blamed myself, her doctors, her friends, her family, but I never did and never will blame her.
I have read a lot about the bargaining stage because I find it the most interesting and it really is the one that makes the most sense to me. When my Mom got sick I would pray to God every single day and try to make deals with him to make her healthy. I remember going to bed every night and bargain my own life for hers. After my mom died, I constantly bargained with whatever higher power there is, to take away the pain I was experiencing and to bring her back. Grief makes you feel so vulnerable and out of control. I had absolutely no control over my life. Present day, I don’t experience the bargaining stage nearly as much.
Depression knocked me off my feet when my Mom died. I was barely functioning, not sleeping, and not eating.
Honestly, I didn’t start this blog post to talk about the stages of grief, although it seems like it has taken a turn in that direction. What I wanted to get off of my chest is that when my Mom died, I expected to grieve for a year and then be Ok. I feel strange to still be grieving 8 years later… I’m sure when I talk about it or mention it my friends or acquaintances roll their eyes and think to themselves “here we go again” or “let it go”.
Here’s The Catch
I have been thinking lately about how I want to have a baby someday, but that baby won’t know their grandmother or grandfather. I expected to grieve and be ok after a year, but no one told me there would be a catch, that I have so much more grieving to do, at every stage of my life. My parents won’t be there when I get married, when I have a baby, when I get my first professional job, when I get my first house, when I accomplish a new milestone in my life I will recognize that they aren’t there. Not only in a way do I mourn my future, but I also mourn what they have missed. It is hard not to think about how much both my parents would have loved to experience my proms, my first date, me sneaking out of the house, my graduations, my first day of college, my last day of college, and everything in between. It can be difficult to experience something wonderful and in the back of your head say to yourself “Mom and Dad would have loved this” – those thoughts will yank at the muscles that keep that organ in the middle of your chest intact.
No one told me there would be a catch to grief. But here I am, to tell you that there is, in fact, a catch to grief. Once you have gone through the 5 or however many stages of grief there are, you will still mourn the future, the past, and the present. I wish someone had told me that.
“Grief is the price we pay for love” – Queen Elizabeth II