Those Dang Grief Steps


I took this picture of a painting at a SF art gallery. This is what grief feels like.

I started going through the grief steps with you in this blog and I thought it would be a one after another kind of thing. But that’s not how this works. Instead, I find myself  jumping around through them all.

The Elizabeth Kublor Ross grief cycle is : denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. This cycle is pretty true, however, I don’t think everyone feels it the same way or has all the components involved in their grief.

I never felt the denial. As I stated in my previous post I didn’t have much denial. I mean, how do you deny that someone is gone? I understood why my husband left. So for me denying it wasn’t an issue.

Same with bargaining. I mean, what am I going to bargain for? A Lazarus moment? My husband is dead. He isn’t coming back. No amount of bargaining is going to change that.

But anger, depression, and acceptance have been my go-to buddies. I bounce around through them all. Sometimes they all come to visit in a single day. I feel a bit schizophrenic sometimes as I begin bawling during my cool down at Zumba because the song just struck me so hard. Then when I get home I throw something cause I’m so damn angry. It’s tumultuous and heart-wrenching and most of all, it’s very lonely.

I’m so very blessed to have sensational people loving and supporting me. But I can’t tell them everything. And I can’t call people who are living their life to stop what they’re doing because I’m having a knock-down-drag-out with anger.

There are things in life that if you haven’t experienced them, you just don’t understand. It’s not from lack of trying, but it’s just impossible to understand if you haven’t walked in their shoes.

Everyone’s grief is their own. And no matter how hard you try, you cannot escape the grieving process. It’s a solitary thing. Others can love you and listen to you, but they can’t fix what’s happened and they can’t take away the pain. It’s constant. It’s like a rat gnawing a rope.

I’m moving on. I have to. Curling up in a ball and just ignoring the reality is not anything I’d ever be able to do. I’m a doer. I keep myself busy. I make lists of things to do. I keep moving. Keep busy. Don’t stop.

But that doesn’t always work either.

What strikes at my soul and lays me bare is that my husband, my best friend, my partner in business, my confidant, my lover, and one of the best people I ever knew, is gone. He’s not coming back. I have to learn to live my life without him. And it’s fucking hard.

I can make all the lists I want, but I can’t ask him what he thinks. I can keep busy doing things, but I come home to an empty house. I can wear myself out with details, but I still crawl into bed at night alone. This is the reality.

I know I’m strong. Honestly, I had no idea how strong I was until this happened. I mean, I knew I was a pretty tough chick. I’d endured some struggles and pains and gotten through them. But I never understood the human component for survival until this. This is when your true nature grabs your sad, frightened, worried, nervous persona and drags it by the neck to who you really are. It puts a mirror in front of you and says, “You are this. You are this strong. You can do this and don’t ever forget it.”

This is why I’m still standing. Because my nature demands it. This is why I’ve made plans for the future and am acting on those plans. Because I don’t have any other choice.

Call it what you will, the Elizabeth Kublor Ross grief cycle on steroids or just the true nature of who I am, I don’t know. But I will move forward.

It’s funny but in many of those bad places when I can’t see more than five minutes ahead I hear Terry in my head. He says, “You mean the world to me, I adore you, I love you.” And something in that soothing phrase makes me know that I can’t sit in this place of inaction. He wouldn’t want me to. He wouldn’t want me to lay down and quit. He wants me to live on . To more than live on, to thrive, grow, experience, travel, change, adapt, be happy, love, smile, and absorb the wonderfulness of life.

So I will.



3 thoughts on “Those Dang Grief Steps

  1. i can’t imagine the pain of losing your husband. But I can relate to the feelings you express, because I felt the same way when my son died. Crying at the most inconvenient times, lashing out in anger, thinking I saw him around every corner. After four years, it isn’t any easier but it’s bearable.

    • Oh Jane, I can’t imagine the pain you endured losing your son. My heart goes out to you and I’m sending you a virtual hug. I think we don’t know how the loss will impact us after your mind wraps around the reality of the situation. Thank you for your comment. Lorena

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