In my work with grief and loss I have yet to find a roadmap. Yes, I have found markers, street signs, hiking signs, and highway markers – things to notice along the way. I have not found a formula, a recipe or that one way that many look for to make sure they are grieving ‘properly’.
The two diagrams below show very clearly what I am writing about. The stages of grief picture seems to me to be what folks are looking for. In my experience, a diagram from my friend Yvonne Heath, is what I have discovered to be much more accurate.
The markers are the same in both diagrams, such issues as fear, disorganization, loneliness, new patterns, and helping others are all reliably there in many cases. When they appear, the pattern we experience and re-experience them in, how long we experience them, and how we express them is all unique and individual. The journey is very personal.
And it is messy! It is chaotic! It is all over the place for most of us though we try desperately to make order and sense out of it. I know we would all prefer a nice neat road map so we can successfully navigate our way through grief, it just isn’t that way. The messiness is part and parcel of grief, its spontaneous nature, and its unwillingness to show up at the ‘right time’.
A few helpful hints:
- Your grief and expression of is not a burden. It is in fact a generous gift we can offer our family and friends. It is simply and expression of the depth of our love for our deceased loved one.
- Let grief have its way with you, surrender if you will to the uncertainly of the ride knowing that the journey will come to a successful end as you let it run its course.
- Have several friends you can rely on to receive your expression of grief with out you needing to edit it.
- Eat good food, pray a little, and love yourself as you walk along the random path of grief.
- Hugs are great.
Please share your comments, and let us your thoughts on the grief journey.