The Emotional Earthquake hit July 7. Grandies were my primary source of socialization for 12 years. They moved across the country that day. Grief struck my core like a torpedo striking a ship’s belly. The aftershock heartache ripples took hold.
According to healthline.com, there are seven stages of grief while Dr. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross defines five stages. Healthline indicates everyone does the same process. Dr. Kubler-Ross insists that we do it our own way, some stages present or in different order.
Healthline’s 7 stages: *Shock and denial – A state of disbelief and numbed feelings. *Pain and guilt *Anger and bargaining *Depression *The upward turn *Reconstruction and working through *Acceptance and hope.
Dr. Kubler-Ross: Some or all of these, or one’s own style: *Denial *Anger *Bargaining *Depression *Acceptance
*Prep: I decided ahead of time, knowing this would be a life changing, traumatic event, to state an intention of how I would handle it. My intention: To grieve healthily by learning and growing in the process. That focus was salvation!
*On the departure date, I marked my calendar: “CRYING DAY.” I was wrung out, swollen eyes, heart aching almost unbearably. It took me to a release necessary to move forward.
*Struggling with denial, Acceptance took several days. Thoughts took me backwards, trying to keep everything the same. I wanted my grandies to walk in the door. I could hear their voices laughing as we danced and played. The snacks in the pantry called their names. Their chairs missed them. Loneliness felt empty.
*Sadness in its pure form with no blame, anger, or bargaining was essential for health. Blame gives power away. I want my power. I like it. I don’t want to waste it. Sadness waved through me like the ebb and flow of ocean tides. I allowed it. Sometimes tears fell. NOT allowed was wallowing in sadness. If wallowing knocked on my heart door, I shifted into something positive/uplifting. Wallowing leads to depression and self pity that would chew me up and spit me out. Will power drove me to accept, change, and see myself experimenting in new ways.
*Acceptance occurred with the juggling of balancing emotions with gratitude, joy and laughter each day (after Crying Day) to balance out the heavy load.
*Taking Action: selling furniture to replace it. New look. New chapter. Reduced triggers.
*I worked with attachments. I viewed my identity as Grandma Boom.
Watching funny shows brought lighter perspectives. Thinking of funny stories, for example, when the vacuum tried to eat my flannel nightly. Or when the wound-up bobby pin in my wig sprung out and hit the dentist in the forehead when he was working on me. I laugh even when grieving.
Another healing tool was drinking Hawthorn Berry tea which nourishes the heart. Heart Chakra tea at Ashland’s Apothecary also helped. Heart nourishment was wise since the heart took such a heavy stressful hit. Balance is essential for health.
Grief is different for every person, so you may begin coping with loss in the bargaining stage and find yourself in anger or denial next. You may remain for months in one of the stages but skip others entirely.
We all have or will come to know the spirit of grief as part of our human experience. It can devastate us or show us how human we are while also forming a portal for change. I wanted to evolve. It means that I am staying healthy while having missing-them sensations in my mind/heart/body and learning to be a long-distance Grandmother.
Our response to loss connects to every single body part. Some areas will have strong sensations. Our bodies cry out as we wrap ourselves around a newly arrived reality. Finding pathways to create and feel enlivened after the shock dust settles is up to us. Listening to the body can bring awareness, insight and healing.
Changing some things in my environment to look differently was a catalyst to help me see myself differently. Internal and external changes are mirroring each other.
I am keeping health and humor in my grief. Wishing healthy grieving for you in circumstances of loss that arrive in your life. Be kind to yourself. Be healthy grieving.
Janai ‘Grandma Boom’ Mestrovich
Life Coach; Outrageously fun Social Emotional Learning Expert
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