Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The different stages of Grief…

Do you know the word grief comes from the word grave? I didn’t, until today when I thought of writing about something, which has been in my mind predominantly for last 5 months.
I always thought grief is only an emotional response to any kind of failure.
But when it hit me, I realized it has many more dimensions to it. While coming back from office last night I was thinking in last 5 months I have gone through such different stages and mood swings that surprised me.
While reading about what people go through when they are in similar situation, I realized a BIG thing. I am not alone. Every soul in my kind of situation goes through this, in the same way, through the different stages. Until I read that, I seriously thought I was the only one in this world who’s going through this bizarre range of emotions. I remembered the dialogue in “P.S. I love you”, “thing to remember is if we are all alone, then we are all together in that too”. Though the film didn’t do much to me but this dialogue did the needful.
Coming back to the stages, to my surprise I found out there is something called a grief cycle which was introduced by Elisabeth Kubler Ross in one of her book in 1969. My god! None of us are any different from each other, are we?
The first reaction was denial. Yes it was. Is it really happening to me? It was just yesterday when everything was fine. A happy me, laughing at everything and anything and at times at nothing. I knew there were issues but the issues never took over the rest of my brains which was smiling all the time. I can’t help it, laughing is one of my thick habits. I knew there will be rainy days but I always thought I have stored enough laughter to sail through it. So there. In a fraction of a sec I saw my happy and secured life just slide through my hand and I kept looking at it in denial. Take it from me, crying, screaming, shouting doesn’t help. It just doesn’t. Not that I know what helps. And hence I was doing all those things which didn’t help. And yes, drink. Drink as if there is no tomorrow. There wasn’t actually.
Then came the phase of anger. Why me? What have I done to deserve this? I have never done anything wrong to anybody or hurt anyone with a conscious brain? Why me? Where did I go wrong? There was no answer from within. There was this heartfelt disgust for the soul who has put me into this trap and i just can’t break it and set free. Coz, it was not just my past 5 years which was scrutinized and criticized, it was 34 years of me, my values, my outlook and my identity that was questioned. Who gave you this right? Who are you?
3 months passed with these 2 killer emotions. I needed space. I needed to breathe. The suromita who mostly stays in the shadows told me. Look within, you will find an answer. There started introspection. Oh! I might not have been too attentive, I might have gone wrong there, I might have given more time in laughing and smiling that everything is fine rather than sticking to the issue and killing it till the time it stops moving. There you go… hence, bargaining started… ok, this is what I think went wrong from my part, what about you? Mind it, this state also throws you in the deep dark well of guilt. You might not be able to come out of it in days… and sometimes you see a little ray of sun cutting in the darkness.
May be this is a part which may result in some promising rewards. In my case, it didn’t. And hence followed the obvious, depression. Much in my misery came along a space to stay, which was once upon a time called home, which is away from familiarity, friends and fun. Not that having fun was any easier. Nothing worked. Heavy work pressure, drinking, not drinking, watching movies, listening to music, forceful laughter and half hearted chats with friends, nothing helped. Have you ever closed both your ears and heard the sound of that silence? It has an uninterrupted and bottomless effect to it. It sounds like something is burning somewhere. As if you are standing in front of a burning pyre with something in it. This time it was my soul. That sound stayed with me… still. It just refuses to go.
Past few days I have a new agreement in my head. Yes, here I am, catastrophe has set in. I have reacted with full heart, mind and body. My soul is bruised and tired and I have reached rock bottom. And that’s that. Now how worse can it get from here? It can only get better. Reactions will keep coming time and again; maybe even this is also a kind of reaction. The sound of the burning soul has also not left me. It comes back as moments of despair. It comes and attacks me at the weak moments. I have seen a pattern even there. Just after waking up in the mornings, just when the day’s work finishes and I shift gear from work to home, when I feel like touching base with my “family” which includes a breaking one…. I am attacked by despair, gloom and a feeling of several holes in my heart.
There are moments when I see my life reviving and taking off to the clear blue sky and rest there are days like this, when hopelessness grips and tears me apart.
Today I was a little at ease with myself thinking that I am being able to write about it and it almost feels like I am at the last stage. Though I am quite unsure how long this last stage is going to continue and what’s next after this…
Whatever there is in store for me, I have learnt the world doesn’t stop for you to grief. So one has to move on. But having said that, I remembered something I heard long time back and I truly believe in.
“There is no shame in holding on to grief as long you make room for other things too”.

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