There are five stages of grief.
To spare you the fancy terminology set forth by the explanation of the Kübler-Ross model, basically these stages of grief come in any order and can last a short time or a long time, and return at any given moment. They are like herpes, friends for life.
They read like Snow White’s dwarfy little friends on crack:
Since losing my Dad so suddenly, just over 7 months ago, I have experienced anger, depression and denial. And countless other stages that should be on the ballot next time the Stages of Grief are up for election.
Truth be told, the grief still hurts. Physically, mentally, emotionally. There isn’t an hour, of any day, that goes by that I am not somehow reminded of my Dad. He weighs heavy on my mind in every single thing I do. Sometimes it’s comforting, sometimes it sends me into an anxious tail spin of emotion that takes days to climb back out of.
I spend a lot of time, a lot, at his grave site. I have full conversations with him in my head. I hear his voice. I swear I see him driving red SUV’s at the same intersection early in the morning.
Full Disclosure: I’ve mentioned a time or two on here before that I seek professional counseling. In my very humble opinion, it’s imperative. I see a counselor and a psychiatrist. Yes, two. I’s is CRAZY. One gives me constant nuggets of wisdom that assist me in processing the foreign feelings ravaging my everyday existence. One gives me drugs and good conversation. It’s that simple.
Lexapro, or some other anti-anxiety/depression medication, should be added to our water supply. The world would be a better place.
There is no shame in saying “I can’t do this alone.” Absolutely none. I have uttered those words more times than I can count. Each time, they have empowered me to accept help. That alone is what saved me. I was losing myself.
I knew I needed to be medicated when…
– I was screaming like a lunatic, while honking and waving my fist at a guy who opened up his driver’s side window and dropped a fast food bag, AND CUP, in the middle of a parking lot. Yes, my kids were in the car. Not my finest parenting moment, although my kids are the farthest things from Litter Bugs. Silver lining people!
– I sobbed through my entire shopping trip at the grocery store where I had coffee with my dad, every weekday morning, at 6 am. I hid in the frozen food aisle to gain my composure. That was a high point, let me tell you.
– I was (again) screaming like a lunatic at the car in front of me who CLEARLY thought that the STOP sign read “Sit for 2 minutes”. Didn’t he know that Dairy Queen closed in 4 minutes and mama needed a chocolate shake? DIDN’T HE?
– I was no longer sleeping. Or writing. Or eating. It’s been awkward for friends and acquaintances the past 7 months. “You look like you’ve lost weight, what are you doing?” And I honestly respond. “Depression looks good on me.” True story. And again, awkward. Especially when it’s in the grocery store and they then glance at my cart to see 4 bottles of coffee creamer, OJ, frozen waffles and string cheese. Staples when you’re depressed. Or in med school.
This post isn’t intended to be a pity party. I want nothing more than to be honest to my readers. Although it might seem the contrary, I am stronger than I’ve ever been in my entire life. I might linger in between the sheets for longer than usual, or go off the map for a day, or ten, or submerge myself in some random task like de-wallpapering a bathroom.
But it’s how I am surviving. My family is my safe zone and they get me through. My close circle of friends keep me on my feet. The rest, if I am up for it that day, is icing on the cake.
Grief is part of the human experience. It shapes us, whether we like it or not, into the people we need to be. I choose to take it for what it is, a beautiful reminder of life’s small pleasures.
And every morning I read the plaque hanging in my kitchen that reads:
“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.”
It’s so ridiculously true.