Previous post:

Next post:

What can grief stir up in you?

What can grief stir up in you?

What can grief and death stir up

In a word – anything.

In 3 words – anything and everything.

You are not made up of a bunch of  separate compartments that do not touch or affect one another. Everything flows into one. Something that affects one part of your life can affect every part of your life.

Death….or any powerful event in your life….can act a bit like an earthquake.  It shakes you up.  That can be a mild shaking, a damn good shaking, or a shake-your-teeth-right-out-of-your-head kind of shaking. And in an earthquake all sorts of things can fall off the shelves.  And all sorts of buildings can come down.  And you can’t necessarily predict which ones.

So too with a death in your life.

You may have expected to go through many extreme emotions around the person who died.  But you may not have been prepared for the emotions and thoughts that come up about yourself, about other people, about your career, about your life in general.

Cracks that were there, but hidden and small, can widen into chasms e.g. if you already had self-love/self-worth issues they can become very apparent, issues in a relationship can suddenly blow up.

Things you were doing that you didn’t really want to be can suddenly be clearer to you as you contemplate the brevity of life….or just run out of energy/patience to deal with the same old shit every day e.g. you suddenly realise how much you hate your job, you suddenly can’t tolerate behaviour of others that you used to tolerate just fine, certain things that you ‘coped’ with before that now you find you simply don’t have the patience to deal with.

Problems in your life can sometimes seem to be bigger when, in many cases, they may simply be more visible (now that they’ve been shaken off the shelf, on to the ground, and are no longer hidden).

Or maybe it feel like everything slipped into a great big gaping hole.  Or like nothing did and everything is right where it was before (which can be fine…or can in and of itself be a frustration).

So ultimately grief and death can shake up absolutely anything in your life. Don’t be surprised if some (or even a lot) of what is going on for you isn’t actually especially about the person who died but just about different elements of your life or your life in general.

There is no one thing you’re meant to go through or meant to feel.  Each earthquake can shake the house about and create unpredictable ‘damage’ much as each death can shake you about and cause unpredictable changes/issues/pain.

This is one of the many, many reasons that the old Kubler-Ross 5-stages model is utterly useless in helping you examine, help, and heal your grief.  (To her credit, Kubler-Ross herself lamented how totally misunderstood and misused her model was it.  Though it was plenty flawed from the start anyways and still grossly misused today.)

Healing from grief also has some similarities to ‘healing’ from an earthquake.

First you have to take stock, check yourself for ‘injuries’ and make sure you’re ok and that you stay ok.

Then you can check on everyone else.

Next you can start looking at what is on the floor, what seems to be gone/is charged/is there that didn’t seem to be before.

And then you decide what to do about it/how to clean up.  (You’ll note the idea of ‘leaving it to time’ is about as helpful and productive in each example as the other).

So there might not always be a clear reason why certain things come up for you after a death.  More important than figuring out why it’s come up….is to figure out how it helps you to be dealing with this particular issue (the chance to heal our cracks and older ‘wounds’ are one of the many profound gifts of death and grief) and what you are going to do about it next.