The five stages – denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance – are a part of the framework that makes up our learning to live with the one we lost. They are tools to help us frame and identify what we may be feeling. But they are not stops on some linear timeline in grief. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
All the death gurus I’ve read or heard quoted claim there are stages of grief. I have to say that at the moment I’m in the white hot lava mountain of rage otherwise known as anger.
It’ kind of hard to deal with because at the moment I’m angry with my family and everyone else I’ve even known who puts themselves in harm’s way to the sorrow and fear of their loved ones and friends.
I’m angry with my grandson for choosing to live a sad and dangerous life; choices that left his 26 year old beaten, drugged up, frozen dead body on the ground in a train station in Boston. Those of us left behind to mourn him are left holding the bag. I’m pissed off because it seems like he got off easy. He doesn’t have to face each day knowing that he’s gone forever. He’s not left with a life time of “what ifs.”
I’m angry at those members of my family who still abuse drugs and alcohol and live on the razors edge of death in a myriad of ways because of their actions. Who will I have to bury next?
I’m angry at family and friends who suffer from an assortment of mental illness and refuse to seek or maintain treatment. I’ve been told by a number of them that well “I’m not hurting anyone but myself.” Excuse me but that is total unadulterated bullshit. Hello but you are torturing those who love you.
Having substance abusing, and or mentally ill friends and relatives is like having a stalker. The situation grinds on relentlessly for years and then decades. Your heart jumps into your throat every time the phone rings. “What is it THIS time?” Are they in the hospital? Are they in jail? Are they missing…again. Are they dead?
It’s a slow kind of torture that never ends. You can’t do anything about it. Maybe having an actual stalker would be easier to deal with. You can report them to the police. You can take out a restraining order. You can go incognito. If all else fails, you can move to another city or country to get away from it.
But you can’t get away from substance abuse or untreated mental illness. You can hope, you can pray, you can go into denial and refuse to answer the phone, but you can never get away from it.
To anyone who thinks that their self destructive behavior is their business and not anyone else’s….I would like to brain you with an iron frying pan and then lock you in a closet for a year or three. You ARE hurting the people who love you.
The reality is you will grieve forever. You will not ‘get over’ the loss of a loved one; you will learn to live with it. You will heal and you will rebuild yourself around the loss you have suffered. You will be whole again, but you will never be the same. Nor should you be, nor would you want to. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross and John Kessler.
As long I have to reinvent myself after a piece of my heart got cut out, I’m thinking about doing something I always wanted to do – go Goth. Don’t waste your time asking yourself if I’ve lost my mind. That ship has sailed.
Now I’m saying this a little tongue in cheek. But think about it. I can wear black all the time now because I have a perfectly good excuse. I can read Edgar Allen Poe in the middle of the night and then listen to Joy Division, Sisters of Mercy, the Cult, Rasputina and Siouxsie and the Banshees on my IPOD all day.
I can contemplate death without working up an effort because it’s always there, right at the front and center of my brain. Not my death necessarily. I of course know that I will die someday, but harbor no plans to bring about my own premature demise. Life is much too precious and brief to throw away.
I’m already rocking silver hair and the dark circles around my eyes. All I have to do is slap on some black eyeliner and dark lipstick and I’m half way there. I have tons of black clothes already, because well…I’ve always loved black clothes. I even own a black corset.
The loss is Christopher, my grandson, keeps sneaking up at me at the most inopportune moment. Last night Mr. Husband and I were watching the Patriots vs Ravens football game. I suddenly burst into tears because the thought that Christopher is a Patriots fan flitted across my mind. I thought only men cried when watching football? My poor husband tried to comfort me and said “I’m sure where ever he is he’s watching the game.” The Patriots won. YAY
So if I’m going to be in mourning for the foreseeable future, I may as well have some fun with it. Sounds a bit kooky, I know. But I never claimed to be a “normal” person.
Since I’ve been so sick and under the weather from grief at the death of my grandson, I’m running out of things to do that don’t involve much moving at all or any heavy breathing. Come to think of it I haven’t been capable of doing anything that involves much thinking either.
A few days ago I found myself incapable of doing anything more strenuous than lying on the bed and watching the screen saver on my computer cycle through.
Yesterday I started trolling YouTube to find things to laugh about. It’s great for my chest and sinuses to laugh because it sends me into a coughing and sneezing fit that really get things going in the snot department.
One thing I noticed is that there are tons of videos entitled “watch this it’s the funniest thing ever.” Many of them are so not funny at all… it’s almost but not quite funny. Maybe I don’t get it because I’m not a generation Xer or a millennial kid.
I even found a slew of videos called “nut shots.” These videos are made by a select group of young men who are doing us all a favor by removing themselves from the gene pool. They set up ways to have themselves get slammed in the nuts and catch it on tape. One guy sat at the bottom of a skate board tube with his legs spread and had a friend roll a bowling ball down the slope and into his crotch. My faith in coming generations was severely damaged by this.
Then there all the beauty tips by young girls and teenagers. Example: “How to grow your hair long.”
Hi, I’m Tiffany and I say “um” every fifth word, I’m going to tell you how to have long hair. It’s like totally rad, like what you do is not cut your hair, like for a really long time. And then you like run your fingers through your hair 15 times a minute and purse your lips. It’s like totally cool and it really works.
And while I let my hair grow, I’m going to show you how to put on lip gloss. What you do is like (zoom into close up of a container of lip gloss) stick your finger in the lip gloss and like smear it on your lips. Then I’m going to show you how to put on makeup. (More close ups of various drug store make up products) You like spread this foundation all over your face, it’s probably good to have the color match your face. Then you put on eye shadow, eye liner and mascara. It’s so cool see here I am without makeup (close of up of beautiful flawless 16 year old skin, followed by close up of a girl who now looks like the whore of Babylon.)
Maybe there needs to be a video blog made by and for women who are looking at 50 in the rear view mirror? Without make up on a bad day, especially when I’ve been sick for 2 weeks, I do a good impression of a corpse in a coffin. My lips are shriveled up and cracked. My nose is chapped. I have dark circles on under my eyes that would scare off a raccoon. Will running my fingers through my hair and talking like a valley girl help? Probably not.
No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted. Aesop
Well here I am camped out at a hotel near the airport in Boston. I have a wonderful view out my window of what looks like a tank farm. Fuel for the Airplanes perhaps?
Everyone here at the hotel could not be kinder to me. I went down to the desk yesterday morning to extend my stay. I began telling the clerk that I had to stay longer because my grandson’s funeral mass is not until Saturday morning. As soon as those words were out of my mouth the floodgates opened and I began sobbing uncontrollably. The people standing there at the desk comforted me, patted my hands, and stroked my back.
Standing around me was an assortment of flight attendants, pilots and various other travelers. They did their best to console me, a total stranger. I was so grateful to them. Like ripples in a pond, I think this time of sorrow gives others an opportunity to think about their own troubles and loved ones. I bet they took time to talk to their family and friends and tell them loved them. I would like to think that anyway. Life is too short to let squabbles and hurts get in the way of loving those close to you.
The desk clerk started typing away furiously and offered me every discount she could think of…senior citizen, military and whatever else they could find. When they were finished punching the magic buttons my bill went from $160 per night down to $100 per night. I am so grateful.
So anyone can make a difference in someone else’s life. The opportunity may come at you out of the blue at a moment’s notice. Never pass up a chance to show kindness to a stranger. You may never know how much it touches their heart.
Thank you, dear readers, for listening.