We all experience it at one point or another in our lives. It can be the loss of a loved one. It can be the betrayal of a loved one. The loss of a pet. Grief can mean different things to different people and obviously experienced in a variety of different ways. One thing most of us share though, is that we do generally find a way through it. One way or another. Not necessarily in the same ways, but we do get there and often it can be liberating, enlightening and definitely a learning experience.
A few months ago a very, very close friend betrayed me in one of the worst ways you could possibly imagine. There were tears of course. And then I researched the five step grief process which is as follows (depending on which source you locate):
Now obviously how long we stay in each step depends on many things. Luckily for me, I moved through this process quite quickly in retrospect. I suspect there were a few extra steps and some steps I feel I am still in depending on my mood and the current circumstances. They key thing to know is that there is no right or wrong. There is no prescribed way and time in which to deal with grief. It’s a very personal thing.
But here is my biggest learning from all of this. We are not unique. We all go through this. We all experience grief in its many forms. These are all normal emotions. No-one suffers more than someone else. Or less. But we can choose to be a victim or be empowered. We can choose to hold on or let go. We can be active about the process and ask for help or battle alone. We can investigate options on how to move through the process and get tools that will support us throughout or choose to do nothing. It is all a choice believe it or not. It may not always seem that way when we’re in it, but it is. We cannot control life and death. Let’s face it they both come sometimes when we least expect it. We are not God. But the thing to remember is that it’s never the circumstances, but always how we deal with them.
I am not ashamed to say that I still see a Psychologist monthly. I have investigated options to bring closure. I have refused to be disempowered about what has happened. And I absolutely refuse to allow what I have been through to taint my view of life and people. It’s just an event – that is all. It’s not “happening to me”. It happens to us all. It’s called life. And I would rather feel it in all of its waves than to feel nothing, be nothing, see nothing, hear nothing and ultimately achieve nothing in the world. But that’s me. I know not everyone is as driven as me. And that is okay. But you can choose. Whatever you like. Starting now.