Over the past few weeks I have been writing about the ten stages that you will go through when you experience grief. The first stage is “Shock & Disbelief” which is really a buffer period and it allows you to get your thoughts together. Second is “Emotional Release” which is the ability to get rid of those bottled up feelings by crying, screaming or laughing. The third stage is “Depression” which is when you start to realize the impact of your loss. Fourth is “Psychosomatic Illness” when you may develop symptoms that were suffered by a loved one in the early stage of a disease. The fifth stage is “Guilt”. This is the stage that many people find themselves stuck in for prolonged periods of time. Sixth is “Panic” when all of the sudden you wonder how you are going to manage now that you have lost the shoulder that you were so accustomed to leaning on. The seventh stage is “Selfishness”. This is the stage when you are really getting to feel worn down and you will find it hard to think of the needs of others. Eighth is “State of Inertia” when you will feel like doing nothing and wonder what the use is of carrying on. Number nine is “Hope” and that’s when you start to realize that the memories live on, but it just doesn’t hurt as much to think about them.
The final stage of the grief cycle is “Return to Normality”. All of you who have experienced grief will question the word “normality” because it’s never going to be normal again. But in terms of behavior, the word normal refers to “a lack of significant deviation from the average”. So what this means is that there will come a time when you will become able to divest yourself into other things again. Maybe you will find yourself being able to go to work for a day without becoming overwhelmed. Life will never be the same, it just becomes different and you come to accept it for its own merit.