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Learning to cope with grief and loss...

Life is unpredictable friends. As much as I'd like to bypass this chapter of life, I cannot. There's no escaping the reality of loss.

I used to think grief was an immense amount of sadness, but the older I get and the more loss I experience, I'm learning that grief cannot be generalized. It effects your mind, body and spirit.

In my experience, there's no preparing for loss and grief. Yes, disease and illness may allow processing and acceptance to occur, but the aftermath can still very much be an emotional whirlwind experience. Though concepts like the grief cycle exist, grief is not exactly a "What to Expect When Expecting" type situation. What you experience and how you experience it, will vary by relationship, circumstances, and time.

Grief looks different on everyone. Remember the Forrest Gump line, "Life is like a box of chocolate, you never know what you're gonna get". Same concept with grief.

What does grief look like?

Grief is more than a feeling. The stages of grief, denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance, are also just conceptualizations. If you're literal like me, the stages of grief don't offer much insight. You kind of take the words at face value and realize they don't always fit. For example, denial isn't cut and dried. It isn't simply refusing to believe death/loss occurred. You know it happened even when you don't want to believe it. Denial shuts you down in your tracks. It manifest itself through procrastination, avoidance, and distraction. Denial tells you that you are fine when you know you are not. It's also the gateway to depression for me. I'm struggling to socialize and get dressed most days. I don't want to talk and I don't want to leave the house. It's like I'm watching my life pass me by and I'm borderline ok with it. Does that make sense?

Maybe you're angry. Anger is extremely common with loss. I'm angry cancer exists and I'm angry we lost relatives to violence while still grieving the loss of my Mother-in-law. With all that said, anger is presenting itself to me through an immense amount of irritability, frustration, resentment and pessimism. I struggle to be positive and although I'm aware of it, it's still difficult to breakthrough.

If I'm not avoiding my life or drowning in irritability, I'm bargaining. Bargaining itself is defined as negotiating terms and conditions. Example, "please let it be me not her"or something of similar effect. For me, bargaining has been the constant feeling that we should have done something differently. It's shame, blame, guilt, and fear all in one. I wish I could go back in time and do one little thing differently. I know this isn't possible but I still have to make conscious effort to not let these thoughts consume me. Letting go of the possibilities is the hardest part for me. Post funeral, I'm still working on this the most.

Learning to cope...

Grief is a forever journey. I don't think it ever really goes away. There are good days and there are bad days. That much is certain. As isolating and lonely as it may feel or be, consider this reality to be a new type of relationship blooming within. That's my saving grace... They live in us and through us. She's still present, just in different forms.

Xx Dee

Grief Reads ~

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