Figuring Out How to Deal With Loss Through the 5 Stages of Grief

grief loss It’s been a while since I’ve written a post. I have been trying to figure out how to deal with a loss unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before. You see, Monday, March 6, 2017 my step father found out he was dying of cancer. He thought he had the flu but it turns out his body was taken over by this ugly disease. Outside of knowing friends whose lives have been changed by this disease, I never experienced, up close and personal, what it actually looks like. I do not like what I saw. I do not like what has happened and part of the struggle with dealing with the loss is the hate I have for the fact that it happened.

Thankfully, for him, he did not have to suffer long. If I have to be thankful for anything, this is the only thing I can muster up. He found out on Monday and passed away 8 quick days later. I cannot seem to process how this happened so quickly, but his last wish was to not be in pain and for the end to not drag on. Just as he lived his life, he did not want to bother anyone or disrupt our lives to care for him. We would have cared for him indefinitely if it meant we could have him on this earth, but it’s not what he wanted. His wish was granted, and my heart aches. Now we are left with the healing; with finding what I’ve heard called, the new normal. We are left with working through the infamous stages of grief: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance.

Denial

This stage is what is says…denial that the person you love is gone. You know in your head it is true, but in your heart, you just can’t believe it happened. I swear for 2 weeks straight all I could say was, “I just can’t believe this is happening.” This later turned to, “I can’t believe this happened” and is now, “I can’t believe he’s really gone.” Every day brings new emotions, new thoughts, and new struggles.

Anger

I think everyone has experienced anger at one point in their life. This is a different kind of anger. This anger doesn’t have a home. You don’t know who to direct it at or how to get through it because it wasn’t a specific action that made you angry. It is life that I am angry at; it is the unfairness of it all and the total lack of sense. Maybe it is God I am angry with since everyone says He has the plan for our lives, He knows what we need and when we need it, He is in control. Well, I don’t know what lesson I am supposed to learn through Him taking away one of the most amazing people in my life, way too soon and way too fast, but I do know that I am damn angry about it.

Bargaining

The “what if” stage. During the month prior to him finding out he had cancer, he was at home living what you would call a normal life. He didn’t feel the best, but the hospital told him he had the flu and it could last 6 – 8 weeks. During this time, it was winter, and in the winter, I often use my mother’s treadmill located in their finished basement. I would go to their house, I would yell in to let them know I was there and again that I was done and headed home. I didn’t go upstairs because they didn’t want anyone else getting sick. I keep asking myself, what if I would have just gone upstairs. Would I have seen something they didn’t see? Why didn’t I just go upstairs?

Depression

They say when you are in this stage you could experience intense sadness, decreased sleep, reduced appetite, and loss of motivation. This is not to be confused with medical depression. Prior to this happening, I loved to trail run. I made it a point to run at least 4 days a week with nice long runs on the weekend. It was my “go to” activity to clear my mind and deal with the stresses of life. Since this happened I cannot get myself to move. I cannot get my legs to run or my heart to care that I’m not running. I know it is probably healthy for me to get out there, but it doesn’t seem to matter anymore. I tried a few times. I got dressed to run, went outside, told myself “this is it, start running” and I walked. And I kept walking until I walked my way back home. One of my favorite trail races is in one week, and I’ve already decided I’m not going. I don’t want to see the people or answer the question, “How are you?” So, loss of motivation, yeah, you can check that one off my list for sure.

Acceptance

The new normal, or as Eddie Vedder sings, “I’ll take this hole, that’s inside me now, like a brand new friend, that I’ll forever know.” I am not here yet. I guess I am stuck switching between the first 4 stages, and will hopefully find my way here at some point. What about you? Have you suffered loss and found your way through to the new normal?

grief loss

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