Loss, grief, and accepting change to heal and move on

We grieve over all losses whether we are aware of it or not. Any change in circumstances can initiate this process. Why? Because with each loss we feel something has been taken away from us internally. A void develops where that attachment has been ripped away. It is an emotional tear that makes us desperate to recover it and sad when we can’t. We feel diminished somehow by no longer having that person, place, or thing in our lives.

I looked everywhere I thought I may have placed it. I was desperate to find it. “What could I have done with that ankle bracelet,” I asked myself half expecting to hear me say, “You put the ankle-let in the top drawer of the nightstand next to your bed.” This wasn’t like me. I don’t throw things away … so, where was my ankle bracelet?

Grief happens when things change or when we lose something or someone who we care about. It matters not whether the object of our affection is animate or inanimate, we grieve over that loss. Be it a dollar or a dime, change in our situations and/or circumstances, a dismantled relationship or the loss we experience when a loved one transitions from this world to the next, the grieving process will be the same.

This process is called the 5 Stages of Grief, acknowledged by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross in her book On Death and Dying or the 5 phases of Managing Change, like the loss of my favorite ankle bracelet.

MY PROCESS:

      1) Denial: What’s the first thing you do? You try to find the lost object. You tear up the place to locate the comb, the brush, or the penny that rolled under the sofa. In my case, it was the ankle.
      2) Anger: “Where did I put the dang gone thing? I should have taken it off before I went for that run, dang it!”
      3) Bargaining:“Please God, just let it be somewhere in the house. I promise I’ll never wear it outside again.” Yeah right!
      4) Depression: “O-mi-god, what am I going to do now? Oh man, my ankle looks naked.”
      5) Acceptance “Enough,” I said. “Get over this and move on. You can’t change what happened.” I had accepted the reality of my loss, experienced the pain, adjusted to my ankle without the bracelet, and reinvested in a new one.

We don’t have to go through the five stages in sequence. But we must go through them to heal and become whole again.

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