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Grief is messy

Posted by Sara Levitsky on Saturday, December 1, 2012 Under: Grief
One of the reasons the holiday season is so hard for some people is that during times of celebration and gift giving and family time we tend to feel the void of lost loved ones even more.  We may be surprised by the re-emergence of grief after many years.  We thought we had "worked through it" but here it is feeling raw and new - loss due to death, loss due to divorce, loss of a job.  Loss is loss.  Void is void.  No matter the source - physical loss or social loss.

The most common way we look at grief is through Elisabeth Kubler Ross's model - The 5 stages of Grief.
  •  Denial - "There is no way this is really happening to me."
  •  Anger - "Why did this happen?  Who can I blame?"
  •  Bargaining - "I'll do anything to make this not be true."
  •  Depression - "I'm so sad about this I can't function normally."
  •  Acceptance - "I'm going to be okay even though this is really hard." 

There is a misconception that these stages have to happen in this linear order for us to be truly grieving or grieving effectively or "getting over it."  But there is no set pattern for grief.  Each person's experience with it is their own.  Some people may only go through some of the stages.  Most people will go through them in their own unique order.  It's not uncommon to bounce around between stages and re-experience them.  Many times.

Acceptance is the goal in this model.  I think we need to be careful with that word though - it doesn't mean we are okay with what happened.  It means that we are okay and coping even though it happened. 

I bumped into this photo on Pinterest and I think it's a great statement on grief.  We wish it could just have a starting point and an ending point.  But it doesn't. It can be messy.  

In : Grief 

Tags: grief depression 
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