Sunday, August 31, 2008

5 Stages of Grief - My Personal Loss

Did you ever lose something so precious that your heart ached as if it were broken into tiny pieces?

What if that "something" was "someone"?

I consider myself fairly smart and I knew I was grieving so I did some research on the five stages of grieving; or the grieving process. Did you know that the loss of anything that matters to us can trigger the grieving process?

A pet. Our health. A treasured heirloom or special item. A loved one.

Must a loved one die for us to grieve? I say no. Absolutely not. We can grieve for the loss they leave in our lives and our hearts when they move away. Even when that move is supposed to be temporary. The grief still breaks through and settles around my shoulders like a heavy sweater on a hot day.

I'm in the grieving process. My daughter, son-in-law, and precious granddaughter have moved out of state on a temporary basis. They'll stay with my daughter's father until they can get back on their feet and move back. That's what I have to keep telling myself. It's only temporary and they'll be back home.

I believe I'm still in Stage 1 of the grieving process. Denial and Isolation. I've tried to just pretend that they really haven't gone, that they're still living here. I've definitely withdrawn from my normal social activities, online and offline and have just hidden myself away from the world. I haven't felt like doing much of anything.

Then, there's Stage 2, Anger. The experts say the grieving person may become furious at the person who inflicted the hurt or at the world for letting it happen. I may even become angry at myself for even letting it take place even if there was nothing I could do to stop it.

Now, there's a stumper for you. Was there anything I could do? They couldn't pay their mortgage so their house was being sold. Could we pay their mortgage for them? Not possible. We've done it before, but we couldn't do it on a regular basis. Not for the next six months while my son-in-law healed from brain surgery then went back to work. Would they have been able to move in with us? Again, no. We just don't have the room. We have no empty rooms available. Fortunately, my ex-husband and his wife had two rooms. But they were across the country.

On to Stage 3, Bargaining, making bargains with God by asking "If I do this, will you take away the loss?"

Then, there's Stage 4, Depression. I know what depression feels like. I've lived with nearly all my life. Will this situation slide me into a depressive cycle? That's what my Support Team is for, to help me through it and to keep me from it. I've already talked to my therapist about it and next week I talk to my psychiatrist and physician about it. They'll all be ready to handle any crisis that may occur, if it does.

Finally, Stage 5, Acceptance. This is where I will have finally accepted the reality of my loss and the anger, sadness, and mourning will have gone away.

A person can go through the five stages in a few moments a few hours or even longer. Sometimes it can take years to finish the five stages, if a person finishes them at all. It depends on the person.

I know I'll get through this. My daughter has a goal to come back to Florida, and I believe in that goal. That's what keeps me going every day. That's what helps me with my grieving process.

I want to thank all of my friends and family who have helped me through this entire process before and after my daughter and son-in-law moved. During my son-in-law's surgery, my daughter's crisis, and the rest of their downward spiraling issues. I'll never forget your open hearts and I will always treasure your prayers and good wishes. You've shown me true friendship and support and for that I'll always be humbled by your generosity.

My children have a goal. And, I have a goal too. I'm going to fly out and see them in October. And, I'll keep going to see them, until they come home to stay.

12 comments:

Beverly Mahone said...

Vicki,

I went through these "grieving stages" when my dad passed away. As I reflect back on that time---more than 25 years ago--I am reminded of how I tried to bargain with God, "If you just bring him back..." But today I am reminded of the scripture "All things work together for Good to those who love the Lord" (Romans 8:28). My dad moved on to a better place---much in the same way your daughter, SIL and grand daughter have moved on. Theirs is just a temporary situation but it's a blessing that God has made it possible for someone to be able to offer assistance so that they will be able to get back on their feet.

Yes--all things do work together for good.

Vicki M. Taylor said...

Beverly, I know it's for the best, as they'll get the help and support they need, but I'm feeling selfish as I won't get to hold and cherish my granddaughter and be with my daughter every day. I hold on to the thought that it's only temporary and that they will come home.

I'm slowly moving through the stages. Thank you for the scripture from Romans. It really brings it home to the heart.

feistysideoffifty said...

Thank you, Vicki, for that wonderful post. Whenever anyone is grieving it's so helpful to know that there are predictable stages to the process. You can't, of course, rush these but you can understand what's happening. That alone is some comfort.

Betty Lynch said...

Vicki,

Thank you for sharing with us! When my father passed away 20 years ago, my mother started through this process, but she never completed the process. She has turned in a very depressed and bitter person.

Take the time to complete the process and know this is only temporary. Also know that your friends are here to help you.

Blessings,

Betty

Pam Archer said...

Vicki,

I remember having to put my daughter and son-in-law on a plane to move across the country. It was a very hard time for me and for her. God eventually moved them to South Carolina, which felt like they were moving home, and then He did move them back home.

I've been through the grief process more times than I ever thought I would by this stage of life, but you will come through it.

Hold to the thought that they want to move back to Florida. Meanwhile, allow yourself to feel the feelings, but involve yourself in some fun things and things that you love to do. Sounds like a great book could come of this experience!

Vicki M. Taylor said...

Fiesty, That's what helped me. I knew I was grieving so I decided to research the process and blog about it. It helped immensely.

Vicki M. Taylor said...

Thank you, Betty. I'm so very thankful to have such wonderful friends.

Vicki M. Taylor said...

Pam, you know, that book is beginning to write itself. I've been planning a memoir.. or a book about me and my Bipolar.. and you can't do that without including family experiences.

Thank you for reminding me to do fun things.

Terri said...

Vicki - I have reached another stage in this process - respect for being alive.

In the last 40 years I have lost, in this order: my husband Ken, my little bird Tinkerbell, my Mother, my Father, my little dog Shadow, my Sister and recently my little bird Peter Pan, plus 5 close friends and 14 aunts and uncles.

After many losses I have found I will always wake up the next morning and the morning after that. I go on and time eventually coats the grief in a wrapper of distance which blurs the pain. It's not gone away but I have learned to live with the occasional sharp pains that sneak up to jab at me in a lonely moment.

I say I have reached another stage because beyond acceptance there is, hopefully, a "coming out" and a return to the joy of life - a respect for being alive and surviving and a thankfulness for the strength to go on.

I realized that God gave me this life and as long as it is His will that I remain on this Earth, I hope to honor him by living my life in joy, community and the faith that He keeps me here for a reason.

I wish for you a "coming out" so you can feel the joy again!

Vicki M. Taylor said...

Terri, I'm so sorry for all of your loss and sorrow.

I have faith in God that He will bring my babies home, so I must let Him have faith in me that I'll live in joy while I live here on Earth.

Thank you for your wish, it opened my eyes.

Anonymous said...

The last stage is where I'm stuck. Something happened in my family that I find extremely difficult to forgive and forget - I'll never forget and I can't find it in myself to forgive... yet. I've worked through the first 4 stages but the 5th one is hard to do. You grieve also when someone does something that completely takes away your image and memories of them as the person you thought they were when you were growing up. They have stolen my childhood memories and breeched a family relationship of love and trust.

Claudia L. Meydrech, CN said...

I remember going to hear Elizabeth Kubler Ross who wrote "On Death and Dying" years ago when in college, and for the first time hearing the stages of grief. Like Beverly, I never fully experienced them until my Dad passed away, it will be 3 years in October.

I have listened to a friend from church speak about how hard it is to have her children far away, and not be able to see her grandchildren grow day by day, I pray that all will go well for all of you!

Claudia, the Happy Nutritionist