Stages of grief (?)

Yes, this likely fits most people’s experience more than the neat little diagram on the left.

Stages used for grief are more aspects or flavors of the process. The different aspects can happen in just about any sequence, several can happen at once, and each aspect tends to return more than once.

More accurately, at any one moment, one or a few may be in the foreground while others are in the background. There is a fluid change with different ones coming into the foreground at different times.

The grief process itself is fluid. Sometimes it’s more in the foreground and then more in the background of our attention and life. It depends on the situation and the dynamics in the process itself.

It’s not a neat process, and it’s often messy, confusing, and humbling.

It’s an opportunity to be more authentic and transparent with ourselves and others. To let go of facades and certain identities that don’t fit with the grief and messiness. To find genuine empathy with ourselves and others. To ask for help if we need to and have been in the habit of not asking for help. To take responsibility for how we relate to life and our experiences. To viscerally get that we are in the same boat as all beings in grief (and our essential hopes and fears). To deepen into our humanity. To mature a little.

There are some general and common patterns in how the grief process unfolds over time. For instance, it’s typically more intense at first and then we find more peace with it. (Unless we are caught up in strong trauma.) And yet, when we are in the middle of it, it feels and looks far more messy. Also, we are all different and each grief process is different.

Life is always more than and different from our ideas about it.

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