The five stages of grief and other fantasies

My brother died two weeks ago

If you read books about grief and processing grief, it’s broken down into five stages: Denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.

Pure fantasy.

There is nothing methodical about grief.

Yes, there is a numbness in the first days right after you hear the news of a loved one’s death. But it is interjected with anger and pain. The smallest perceived offense is magnified, and you may find yourself in a fury over a trivial matter.

They don’t tell you about Brain Lock. For example, someone hands you a ten dollar bill for a seven dollar item, and your brain cannot figure out the change due.

They don’t tell you about the pain in the pit of the stomach that greets you when you wake up every morning.

They don’t tell you about the flashbacks of traumatic events you spent with your loved one and how it causes physical pain in your arms.

They don’t tell you that remembering good times will cause shooting pain inside your brain.

They don’t tell you that you shouldn’t drive because you might be tempted to drive into a tree.

You may not want to eat for several days. Or you may not be able to stop eating.

Acceptance? Meh. Bad choice of word. It’s another scar you carry for the rest of your life.

If unicorns were real, and we could slide down rainbows, I suppose in that universe there would be five clean stages of grief.

But here on planet earth, grief is a new agony for each person that you lose.

6 thoughts on “The five stages of grief and other fantasies

  1. I’m sincerely sorry for your loss. I remember when my husband was dying, I was numb knowing what was coming. After it was over and I still felt numb, I read the stages of grief book. I found some comfort in some of it realizing I had been going through anticipatory grief for all those months after his terminal diagnosis. I can’t say it doesn’t get better because some days it is easier than others. But coming up on the 7th anniversary of my husband’s death next month brings it all back. You grieve as long as you need to, take your time and don’t let anyone tell you that you should be over it.


    1. Thank you. I agree that when someone suffers a long illness, we begin grieving before they die. Doesn’t make it “easier” but it’s normal to feel that way. I agree too, that some days are better than others. And we need to give ourselves permission to grieve— and give ourselves permission to laugh again!


    1. That’s very true cocoabean! Betrayal hurts so deeply. I have experienced that as well. It’s like a part of your insides has been sliced away, and it leaves a open wound, festering in your soul. . It brings stabbing pain into your heart and also plays tricks with your brain.

      You made me realize that before Jesus went to the cross, he was betrayed by Judas but also by Peter. So before the agony of the cross, he was already in deep pain from BETRAYAL.

      thank you cocoabean for your comments!!


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