Typically narcissistic blogging.

Grief, and the Process of Totally Not Dealing With It

According to Elizabeth Kübler-Ross, there are five stages of grief, which may happen in any order:

  1. Denial: I’m fine. Whatever. This isn’t even happening.
  2. Anger: This is bullshit, I want to blame somebody or something and rage against it.
  3. Bargaining: pretty self-explanatory.
  4. Depression: Fuck it, I give up.
  5. Acceptance: Okay, fine, I’m mortal and so are my friends. I get it.

Currently, my five stages of grief seem to be:

  1. Acceptance: This is going to happen, and it hurts.
  2. Stowing: This isn’t about me. Time to man up, pack it up and deal with it until I know my friends and family have everything they need from me. Totally not an excuse for not dealing. Really. Stop looking at me like that.
  3. Drinking: Is that an open wound? Let’s treat it with alcohol. Shut up, it’s helping.
  4. Picking Fights: What do you mean I didn’t stow that grief deep enough?
  5. Going Fetal: This is potentially a lengthy process that may or may not involve steps 3&4.

Last night, after spending time with some of the family I shared with Donovan, I managed to dive head first into a series of miscommunications, pick a fight with and thoroughly upset the woman I’ve been seeing (Henceforth known as “C.”, because that shit’s too long to type every time), and to start crying in a moderately busy bar. Then, feeling absolutely awful about picking the fight and feeling absolutely awful about crying in public, I spent the rest of the night berating myself for letting my grief and anger bubble over onto these two women (her friend from work was also there, so I am sure I made the best first impression, EVAR) while trying desperately not to start crying again (floodgates were showing signs of opening at any moment) and wanting a do-over on everything.

The cab ride home was a somber affair, as I could not seem to stop the tears from falling but was still trying desperately to maintain some semblance of control (LOLZ). When we finally got home and went to bed, C. fell asleep instantly (she does this—to a ridiculous insomniac like me, this is nothing short of a superpower and I am phenomenally jealous), and the floodgates opened. I don’t remember stopping crying before I passed out, so I think it’s fair to say I actually cried myself to sleep, which I haven’t done since I was a kid.

I woke up this morning feeling entirely wrung out, still kicking myself over last night’s critical fumbles, not entirely understanding why C. even wanted to come home with me after my utterly dickish behavior and trying to sort out everything I was feeling. When one of her alarms went off and it was Mumford & Sons, “Little Lion Man” (a song that I associate almost entirely with Donovan), I discovered that I really was wrung out: I couldn’t cry any more. I did let out a rather pathetic whimper, though.

I have been trying to figure out what last night accomplished, apart from instilling in me the need for Gatorade and the desire to apologize to C. and her friend profusely and repeatedly. Perhaps the realization that my stages of grief, as they currently are, are not working for me or for the people around me. Perhaps the realization that dealing with my shit is better for me, which is better for everybody. Perhaps it was a giant slap upside the head alerting me that maybe, just maybe, I need to be more aware of what is going on internally. Perhaps it was all those things.

Oh, and a blog post that is way too long.

11 responses

  1. Yana

    Crying is a very good start to dealing with grief. It’s important to let yourself cry. The notion that we should avoid crying at all costs is wrong and destructive (as are many other concepts based on stereotypes and prescribed gender roles). You’ve accomplished a lot by ‘opening the floodgates’ (as you say).

    May 4, 2012 at 8:51 am

  2. It’s early yet. Give yourself time. A death in the family is an enormous shock, even when it’s expected. Your whole world is shaken- how can you be in control? Why would you not be crying? This won’t just go away in a day or two; you’ll learn to live with the loss in time. Time, I said, time.
    (Your own stages sound vaguely familiar to me…)
    Look after yourself

    May 4, 2012 at 10:38 am

    • Time. It’s always time, and it always takes so much of itself… Argh.

      May 8, 2012 at 12:24 pm

  3. Ugh. I wish I were around, just to hang out every now and then. Come visit!

    My family’s response to grief always seems to be awkward silence, for fear of offending or somehow awakening hurtful thoughts, as if the griever wasnt, well, grieving. That doesn’t seem to help. (And it ticks S off.) So, although I don’t have anything particularly deep or meaningful to say, I’m thinking about you.

    May 4, 2012 at 2:50 pm

    • I wish you were around, too. I miss you and that family of yours.

      May 8, 2012 at 12:24 pm

  4. Rachel

    Avoidance was working great for me until I drank two bottles of wine, then woke up Marisa, Luke, and my family at 3am drunk dialing and sobbing hysterically.

    So yeah. Sometimes you just have to find a way to feel it, because your heart needs to vomit, and its going to do it one way or another. Sometimes you just have to sit in the bathroom and wait before you go out and puke all over the place in public. I’m sorry you had some fallout, but grief is messy and ugly sometimes and there’s so many of us experiencing it at once, its overwhelming. I hope your lady understands that – I have a feeling she does. <3

    May 5, 2012 at 8:46 pm

    • Yeah, I think we had similar experiences that just expressed themselves differently. Also, yeah–so many of the people I would normally go to with my grief were experiencing their own, and I think that made the whole experience even more difficult (at least in that respect).

      She appears to understand it, maybe even better than I do.

      Love you.

      May 8, 2012 at 12:22 pm

  5. So having gotten old enough to lose more friends and adopted family than I care to count, I have learned one thing. However you choose to grieve is the right way. Whiskey, crying, avoidance, curling up under the covers etc. are all acceptable. It really is all about you at that point and there is no shame in it. Grieving is for the living. If you’re grieving, you are still alive. My process is not gonna be the same as yours and shouldn’t be.

    If you have a partner that let you do your process without judgment, or trying to “fix it” and understands that you chose to show that vulnerability in their presence, apologize for inappropriate actions and then count it as a blessing. But don’t apologize EVER for how you grieve.

    May 7, 2012 at 4:06 am

    • I do believe that is excellent advice. Thank you.

      May 8, 2012 at 12:23 pm

  6. Pingback: A New Year « The Adventures of the Terminally Snarky

  7. Pingback: In Memoriam | The Adventures of the Terminally Snarky

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