The Phases of Grief
When we are younger, we are taught that grief is normal. People live and people die, life goes on, and we do too. Loss is normal, death is normal, grief is a part of life. But sometimes, we grieve the loss of people who aren’t dead. They didn’t pass away, or succumb to a coma… they just left, or we left them, or they are no longer in our life.
When I started this year, I began it by grieving the loss of someone.
I’m in mourning. But no one died.
Every day gets harder. I feel as if my chest has been ripped from me and that although this person is still here, even though I will still see them, they are gone. A part of them has passed away, and I will never get that part back.
As I go through each day, going through the motions of living, figuring out a way to handle my grief, I realized there was one question that no one ever really answered for me…
How do you mourn the life of someone still living?
How do you bury them when they are still walking near you? How do you say goodbye when you still have to say hello? How do you move on when you can’t truly let go?
I thought about the steps of grief and how they can apply to someone who’s still alive. Whether it’s a friend, a parent, a significant other, a co-worker, or just a deep connection.
People don’t just die, people leave. People decide one day that they don’t want to be in your life, or you decide you can no longer have them in yours. You cry, you accept it, you deny it, you fight it, you grieve for that person, and then you figure out how to move on while they still exist.
You figure out how to exist in a world with them, even though you’re living in a world without them.
Sometimes you grieve a person in its entirety, and sometimes you just grieve parts of a person, but nonetheless, you say goodbye.
I don’t have the whole thing figured out. But I figured… maybe just maybe these are some steps to grieving the living, and still feeling alive.
Step One: Feel Everything
Step Two: Let Yourself Deny The Truth Until You Accept It
Step Three: Face The Memories and Recognize They Won’t Go Away
Step Four: Find A Support System
Step Five: In The Process of Grieving Your Loss, Celebrate Discovering Yourself
Step Six: Repeat If Needed.
And maybe those aren’t bulletproof. Maybe those steps aren’t right. Maybe you do those, and you still grieve. And that’s okay...
Because I lost someone who’s still alive. I'm in mourning. I’m grieving. and grief takes time.