The Stages of Grief

Somewhere I read that the stages of grief are the same as the stages of forgiveness. This makes a lot of sense to me. It also explains why I have such a hard time forgiving people and why it takes so long to process.

If you never let yourself mourn, you can never reach the final stage. And if you never reach acceptance, then you can never really forgive. I’ve never really let myself mourn before.

You can’t rush the stages of grief. And you can’t skip any of them. You have to let them wash over you in waves. Once each stage has hit it’s high tide, I promise you’ll feel cleaner.

I know because I feel like I’ve been in a constant tsunami of grief for the last year. I must have gone through the stages at least 4 or 5 times now.

I’m crossing my fingers that I’m riding the last wave of the season. It’s unclear if I’ve reached the acceptance stage for any of the previous run-throughs, but maybe they were all just dress rehearsals leading up to the final performance. I’m hoping this is the final performance.

Last Sunday, I asked a question in yoga class and I didn’t like the answer I got. I don’t know if it was even the answer so much as the question itself, but something triggered a flood of tears that didn’t stop for a good 20 minutes. I was sitting there on my mat sobbing and my teacher was telling me to stop fighting the battle that was eating away inside of me. I was mad at him. I was mad at myself. I was mad. And then he said, “You’re dying.”

It didn’t click until later, but he was right. I’m mourning my old self. Again. And when you mourn you go through the stages of grief. And right now I’m dead center in the anger/ depression stage. That’s what’s been keeping me up all night for the last month. That’s what’s been keeping me numbing on youtube videos and tumblr posts. That’s what’s been making me feel bad that I couldn’t get up before noon, or go to bed before 3am.

At last month’s open mic, I performed this poem that was about anger and depression and forgiveness and the stages of grief. And in the poem I said:

“I deserve to go through every single stage of grief, even if it takes 100 years to do so.”

In the poem, I was speaking to someone else, but I was really just trying to convince myself that it was true.

It is.

And I’m slowly learning to believe it and live by it.

I’m stuck in one of those stages right now. And even if it takes 100 years, I’m allowed to be here. Right where I am. Awake at 1am in the morning, angry, sad, sleepless, unproductive, not crossing things off my to-do list, whatever. It’s ok.

I’m a glass-half-full type of person, so I predict this stage will last less time than 100 years. It might turn out to be closer to 100 days, though, and that’s ok too.


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