I wish grief was as simple as following “the five stages of grief” 🙁 that would greatly simplify life! It would be nice if they were in order, too. But they aren’t.
The mythic of the 5 stages of grief and the order they go in was formulated by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, a wonderful and beautiful pioneer of grief, death, and dying. She was the seminal author on this topic. Does that mean she was right? No. Does that mean she was wrong? No. Was she revolutionary? YES!! YES!!!
She introduced the topic and expounded on it. She made it acceptable to talk about grief and the process we go through. She made it okay to talk about dying and our reactions to it. I’m grateful for that. You have no idea how appreciative I am of that.
Grief makes us human because we have human responses to loss. The big thing to remember is that it’s just not death that is a loss. In some ways, death is a traditional and unambiguous loss. You have no choice about it. It’s permanent. But other kinds of loss? More ambiguous because the person you are losing is still alive, active, and possibly doing things that are painful for you.
The grief literature is very extensive about death and permanent loss, but it’s not as good about the more ambiguous loss. I have total sympathy for this. The ambiguity resonates with me: because people are ambiguous about their feelings. They can feel multiple things at once. In the face of opposing feelings, even seeing two sides to the issue (which I think makes it worse), it can make a conclusion or resolution worse.
My final advice about anyone going through a loss or disappointment: IT IS OKAY, YOU WILL BE OKAY. WHAT YOU FEEL IS OKAY. AND IT TAKES TIME. DON’T LISTEN TO PEOPLE WHO JUST SAY “GET OVER IT.”
Because your feelings and your process are YOURS. You own it. It’s yours. Be it. Express it. Feel it. And most of all, take your time.