“The dictionary defines grief as: “Keen mental suffering or distress over affliction of loss; sharp sorrow, painful regret.” We’re taught to learn from and rely on books, on definitions, on definitives but in life, strict definitions rarely apply. In life, grief can look like a lot of things that bear little resemblance to sharp sorrow.
Grief may be a thing we all have in common but it looks different on everyone. It isn’t just death we have to grieve. It’s life, it’s loss, it’s change. And when we wonder why it has to suck so much sometimes, it has to hurt so bad. The thing we gotta try to remember is that it can turn on a dime. That’s how you stay alive when it hurts so much you can’t breathe. That’s how you survive. By remembering that one day, somehow, impossibly, it won’t feel this way. It wont hurt this much. Grief comes in it’s own time for everyone in it’s own way. So the best we can do, the best anyone can do, is try for honesty. The really crappy thing, the very worst part of grief is that you can’t control it. The best we can do is try to let ourselves feel it when it comes and let it go when we can. The very worst part is that the minute you think you’re past it, it starts all over again and always, every time, it takes your breath away.
According to Elizabeth Kübler-Ross, when we are dying or have suffered a catastrophic loss, we all move through five distinctive stages of grief. We go into denial because the loss is so unthinkable, we can’t imagine it’s true. We become angry with everyone. We become angry with survivors, angry with ourselves. Then we bargain, we beg, we plead. We offer everything we have. We offer up our souls in exchange for just one more day. When the bargaining has failed and the anger is too hard to maintain, we fall into depression, despair. Until finally we have to accept that we have done everything we can. We let go. We let go and move into acceptance.”
- “Grey’s Anatomy”