Apparently, there are five stages in the grieving process, and it seems I’ve entered in to the fourth, and, by all accounts, the worst stage. Depression. All consuming, mind, body and soul destroying depression.
I seemed to sail through the first three stages, much to the concern of those who care about me. The first stage, that of denial, was surprisingly easy. Of course I denied what had happened, I had to. I had to earn a living, I had to be strong for my family; hey, life goes on, and all that stuff. I very rarely cried. There was no need, he’d be walking through the door, any moment. He hadn’t died, he was just a bit late getting home from work.
I don’t really remember much about the second stage, anger. I’m not even sure I did get angry, probably because I stayed too long in the denial process. Then there’s the bargaining stage. Oh, I certainly remember that one. Night after night, pleading with God to bring him back to me. ‘I promise not to do this, that, or whatever it takes, just give him back. You don’t need him, but I do, so very, very much.’
So here I am, now in the penultimate stage of the whole grieving process. And it sucks. I’m barely functioning. My business is suffering as I find I have totally lost the desire to communicate with the outside world. So I have no customers. I’ve even retreated from the people I love the most. They do their best, with offers of company, meals out, meals in, days out, girly nights in, bless them all. These pursuits cannot possibly compensate for what I’ve lost, so I see no point in even bothering.
I no longer cook. Instead, my diet consists solely of hastily thrown together sandwiches, eaten at strange times of the day, consisting of even stranger fillings. Brief shopping trips, taken purely out of necessity, more often than not, result in several boxes of cat food, and, most importantly, a bottle or two of something alcoholic.
I am trying, I really am, to rid myself of this overwhelming sense of despair. I even went along to a singles group, on my own, of my own volition. How brave was that? I have to admit, it was quite a pleasant evening, but I won’t be repeating it. Why should I? I’m not going to get back what I’ve lost, so again, there’s no point in bothering.
And cry? Well, now the floodgates have well and truly opened, I can’t seem to find a way to close them. That’s another reason why I’m choosing to hide behind these walls. I’m terrified someone familiar will stop me in the street, and ask me how I’m coping. No point in forcing someone else to share my suffering, by bursting in to tears the minute they speak to me.
No, at this point of the grieving process, I’m better left alone. But there is hope. The good news is that this is perfectly normal, and I will, eventually reach the fifth and final stage, that of acceptance, if I’m lucky. God knows, I pray that’s true, because I would rather be anywhere than the place I’m in right now.
Linda Wilson has been writing on and off for many years, and is now the editor of her own magazine, the Fareham and Gosport Warbler. Recently widowed, she finds comfort in writing about her own experience of grief. To have a look at Linda’s magazine go to http://www.thegosportwarbler.co.uk/.
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