Twice now I have been exposed to the fact that school guidance counselors are trained in the 5 stages of grief for handling grief with children. Whether or not it’s helpful, I really resist this description of grief as a process, so much so that I am not even going to talk about the 5 stages. Instead, I’d like to replace it with something I found on the internet by Michelle Devine:
Here are some things to remember:
• There is no finish line. This is not a race. Grief has its own lifespan, unique to you.
• There is no time when pain and grief are completed; you grieve because you love and love is part of you. Love changes, but does not end.
• What will happen, what can happen, as you allow your grief, is that you will move differently with pain. It shifts and changes: sometimes heavy, sometimes light.
• Anger will happen. So will fear, peace, joy, guilt, confusion, and a range of other things. You will flash back and forth through many feelings, often several of them at once.
• Sometimes you will be tired of grief. You will turn away. And you’ll turn back. And you’ll turn away. Grief has a rhythm of its own.
• Grief can be absolutely crazy-making. This does not mean you are crazy.
• There is no way to do grief “wrong.” It may be painful, but it is never wrong.
Remember that there is no “closure.” Grief is part of love, and love evolves. Even acceptance is not final: It continuously shifts and changes.
The truth is, you will seize up in the face of pain and soften into it, again and again, both things in rapid succession, and both things with silence in between. You’ll find ways to live inside your grief, and in doing so, it will find its own right place.
One thing I’d like to add from my experience is that grief does end. And it doesn’t end. It’s both. I’d also like to point out that the word grief in the quote above could naturally be replaced by a multitude of words– love, growth, birth, life…