What Grief looks like.
Grief is a strange thing, an abstract concept. It’s loud, and it’s quiet. It comes in waves, and can knock us down when we least expect it. One minute you’re seeing red, the next you’re laughing, and then you’re crying. This is what grief looks like, it looks like a lot of things. Grief looks complicated and messy, yet we all feel it at some point, and it’s a part of healing.
Most people have heard of the 5 stages of grief.
We may think we know what each of these look like, but everyone will move through these stages differently.
“refusal to admit the truth or reality of something”
The first stage. An event has taken place and your brain doesn’t know how to take this information. So it doesn’t. You have hope that what you just heard/ saw/ read etc, did not actually happen. Your grandmother’s ring is not lost, you read the news wrong, they can’t really be gone.
Denial can be quiet and stoic, you continue on with the dishes, power cleaning throughout the house. School drop off, groceries, continuing with the day-to-day as just that, the day-to-day.
You are operating as if nothing has changed because maybe, just, maybe it didn’t.
Except it did.
“a strong feeling of displeasure and usually of antagonism”
There is a wide spectrum. Although anger is traditionally portrayed as loud and violent, that isn’t always the case, it can also be quiet and internal.
Anger can be internalized much like denial. It can eat away at us, sometimes we erupt, sometimes it burns slowly, but it hurts all the same. Maybe you are mad at yourself for saying what you said, maybe you’re mad at them for not doing something they said they would.
“Why did it have to rain?”
“This isn’t fair”
“These things always happen to me”
“to trade by exchanging one commodity for another”
Though we may not be talking about actual things it is easy to try and tempt fate and think about what could have been had one thing been different.
“What if I had said something sooner?”
“Maybe if I had just picked up the phone”
“Maybe if I work a little harder then things will change”
“I can make it work”
The back and forth trying to change what has already happened. Unfortunately we cannot go back in time and nothing we do will change that.
But it is still a part of the grieving process. When we step out of it we have:
“a state of feeling sad : low spirits”
The fourth stage out of five. A deep sadness comes over you as you are working towards the final stage of grief.
Society doesn’t like the word “depression” ; it’s tainted with stigma. This is why it is important to really look at the definition. You are allowed to feel sad when bad things happen. This stage is no less important to healing than any other.
Feeling your emotions is an important part of working through them.
“the act of accepting something or someone : the fact of being accepted”
The fifth and final stage. You have felt and processed the event, you have sat in each stage and all the various emotions that live in each stage.
You have grieved. Life is going back to the new normal, it’s as if life goes on
This can be difficult. When we lose someone we love it can be especially hard to feel ok with what has taken place. Acceptance is hard, some days you will feel really good, other days you will feel as if you are going backwards. Some days you will forget and then it will hit you like a tonne of bricks.
This is all normal. But normal isn’t always easy.
Each stage of grief will look and feel different for everyone. It may even look different each time you personally are grieving. Loss and grief are complicated and messy. No one should be telling you how you should be grieving. However some methods used in these phases are healthier than others.
If you need help while grieving, our team is ready and available to support you through any and all stages of grief and beyond. Figure out what grief – may – look like, for you.
No one stage of grief is more or less important than the other. Unfortunately you cannot skip the parts you don’t like. But you can make each stage a little easier by talking with someone to process how you are feeling during these stages.
Grief is like a ball in a box. At first the ball is very big and constantly hits the sides of the box. But as time goes by the ball gets smaller and smaller and hits the sides of the box less and less. The ball will still hit the side of the box sometimes, and we don’t know when grief will sneak up on us but it is important to know how to process it when it does.
Grief : “deep and poignant distress caused by or as if by bereavement”