The “Unspoken” Stages

If you’ve journeyed through grief or studied the topic in depth you’ve probably heard about the stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. The stages are not necessarily always a pattern. Some people skip over stages quickly, or stay in a particular stage at length before moving to another. For myself, I’m feeling some “sub” stages that may fall in one of those categories-or honestly, maybe they don’t at all. I am wondering if others have also felt some of these. WARNING: This is real. this is raw.

1. Loneliness- I find myself at times feeling extreme loneliness. It doesn’t matter if I’m by myself or with a group of people(not that Covid has allowed much of that), but that lonely feeling is just there. I’m sure it’s because I’m just missing Sarah and long for her company more than anything. We always want what we can’t have, right? In my heart, I know that I’m not truly alone. I know the truth, but my feelings are just not aligning with it right now.

2. A feeling of Quietness- not sure if this one makes sense, but I’ll do my best to describe it. It’s that sort of “inside your own head foggy feeling” despite being surrounded by noises or activity. I’m easily distracted by my feelings and thoughts and I can totally tune out and find myself not being present with what’s happening around me. The music in the background, which I would usually feel so connected to, feels so distant. The sound of my sigh screams louder than anything else in the room. I also feel for some reason quieter when I’m speaking up or engaging with others sometimes. Like everything else is going forward despite what I have to say, so why should I say it? Again, the reality is that when other’s are with me, they are listening and they are so attentive, but my feelings or presumption about what they might be thinking are just not accurate right now.

3. Having NO filter for the trivial/insignificant stuff or drama-There’s so many things that we waste our time worrying about. I just can’t care about the same things that I used to—Not when there are so many families dealing with real pain from things that they have no control over. So much just doesn’t matter. I just want to shout “Please have gratitude for every precious opportunity that you have to spend time with your loved ones!”

4. A feeling that I have to pretend to be ok—This is certainly not original with me. My friend, Jonna, when her husband Larry passed, used this phrase: I’m going to fake it, till I make it. We have to. The heaviness and sadness that we’re feeling is just to much to present constantly to others and it’s just not fair to project our sadness onto them. So, we push back the grief and sadness and agree to the small talk, to protect others and also just give ourselves a break from the heaviness of it all.

5. A loss of valuing my own life- I know that sounds a bit scary, but if you are grieving or have grief, than you probably understand. I don’t fear death and at times ask for it. I’m ready. I don’t want any one to think I’m suicidal. I’m not. Let me be clear… I trust God’s timing for life and death completely and you should too. I fully understand that I’m not wise enough to make those decisions at the right time. I know that God still has a purpose for me to be here and that eventually, He will turn my mourning to dancing and I will feel that life is worth living. This is another one of those times when I can’t just trust my feelings in the moment. I know that Chad and Libby need me and I would never want to cause them to grieve more. I actually pray everyday for Jesus to just come take us ALL home. The apostle Paul made statements that I find myself saying “For me to Live is Christ and to die is gain.” “Death where is your victory? Where is your sting?” This world is just not my home.

6. Jealousy-This one is really ugly. I have found myself feeling jealousy about the stupidest things. The normal things that I’ll never get to do with Sarah— shopping, extra curricular stuff, life events, etc… Hear me out, I don’t like this feeling at all. It has nothing to do with the people that I’m feeling jealous of. This feeling is really more about being angry with God for allowing my plans to be wrecked. That’s why it’s so important to fill my head and my heart with His truth. God is not the enemy. He never caused her cancer and the things that Sarah is experiencing are so much better than anything trivial that life here could have offered her. Still… when jealousy raises its ugly head, I know it’s just the grief talking and I can’t trust it.

7. A loss of purpose-I know I’m still a wife and a mother, but beyond that—I’m not sure what I’m suppose to be “doing.” The things that I was passionate about pre-cancer, were important, but my heart just isn’t there yet. I loved my job, singing at church(which I can’t seem to do without crying), volunteering and serving for very noble causes, etc. I still feel to wounded to jump back into those things. Other than this blog—it’s very clear to me that I’m suppose to share this whole process with anyone who may relate. So that’s what I’m doing. One step at a time, right?

I’m sure there are more “sub” areas of grief. If you’ve got one to share, please do. Just expressing these feelings is sometimes enough to disarm them. This page is meant to combat some of these hard and temporary struggles that grief throws our way. Thanks for all the new Likes and follows!

Image may contain: bridge, plant and outdoor, text that says 'Grief takes you on a path you'd NEVER choose to travel, through a darkness like no other, at a pace only you can set, ...all alone, even though others may surround You.'