Many people know about the five stages of grief. I learned about them in various psychology classes as well as in behavioral therapy in the hospital. I really do appreciate the concept and I do believe it is probably accurate to most situations. I’m not sure what the margin of error is (if there even is one) but I do think many grieving people go through these steps in one way or another.
Today I realized something about grief that I had never really noticed before. You see, turning grief into a science about these stages that may or may not happen is all fine and dandy, but the reality is; every single person grieves in different ways. The important thing to stress here is that it’s okay.
I saw it in my mother, over the past seven years slowly watching my grandfather’s body deteriorate. She slowly grieved his loss while he was still alive and facing and caring for him every single day. I saw it in her today as we said our final goodbyes at the funeral. I saw her feel the need to connect with old friends and think about the good times. I saw her hold her smile and composure through most of the service and burial. It wasn’t until we were going through grandpa’s things that she broke down. It was hard to go through his things as they have always been there. It’s just one more way to hold on.
I saw other members of my extended family grieve as they shared memories and stories. They choked back tears. Some family members stayed more to themselves as the grieved. I saw their grief come out by trying to stay busy. Some did so by organizing and sorting through the old house. For them, I saw this being a way to honor their father as well as help the family from further hassle in the future. There was smiles and good feelings as some old letters between my grandparents during WWII were dug up. This was grieving. Though I may not have seen many tears.
I didn’t crack much if at all during the funeral. I felt more of a numbness. I continued on in this very surreal state of consciousness for most of the day. I found myself getting agitated towards the end of the day. I was annoyed by different things. I was irritated about this and that. I had an attitude for no real reason that I could place. It wasn’t until we started on our way back home when I couldn’t find my earbuds that I felt this agitation grow. I started to panic over a small meaningless pair of earbuds. I searched and searched. When I couldn’t find them and my mom couldn’t find them I started crying. Well, it was more like wailing.. This obviously wasn’t just about the earbuds, but to me it was. I wept bitterly for what seemed like an eternity. My mom said, I think you’re grieving.
My mom’s grief, my family’s grief, and my grief are all so entirely different. So are the ways we choose to cope with that grief. I think recognizing that everyone grieves in different ways is so essential to how we act and care for one another; especially during a hard time.
I was so blessed to be one of the three grandchildren represented at grandpas funeral today. He was such an amazing man, but as discussed today, we can attribute his greatness to God’s greatness. For Grandpa loved the Lord and strove to be like him in every walk of life. So as a write this in my grief, I am assured that just like life on earth, grief is temporary. Unlike grief however, life does begin anew with Jesus in heaven. Through his death we have life.
With a solom heart, I bid thee adieu.