BEYOND THE 5 STAGES OF GRIEF
Most people are familiar with the 5 stages of grief that Elisabeth Kugler-Ross defined in her groundbreaking book, “On Death and Dying.” This information has helped countless people understand at least some of what they were experiencing in the aftermath of a difficult loss. Grief, like parenting, was sorely lacking a manual at the time she laid out these 5 concepts, and the world has been grateful ever since.
I remember referring to them when my time came to experience grief. And though they definitely helped, they also fell short of explaining certain aspects of grief that I found overwhelming. So I did my own writing - through and about grief - trying to understand this experience that had knocked me to my knees. And the writing did far more than mend my broken heart. It awakened, enlightened and inspired me.
So I want to offer 5 of my own truths about grief.
1. Grief is not just an emotional experience.
We experience it mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually. All at the same time. People who can’t seem to recover from their loss may not realize where they are stuck, which is why #2 is so important.
2. Writing your way through grief might be the best way to heal.
Grief is complex. It triggers emotions and thoughts that can only be understood through exploration. As any writer will tell you, you don’t even know what you think until you put it down on paper. The other thing writers will tell you is that words have the power to create change, to heal, to alter the course of a life.
3. Your beliefs may change after the death of a cherished loved one.
Some people find that their beliefs seem hollow in the face of death. This can be a huge barrier to healing, especially if you’re not open to the personal truth(s) your experience will show you.
4. There is tremendous stress in losing someone.
The physical effects of grief make people vulnerable to illnesses and other health issues. Stress-reducing practices are very important during this time, and can include meditation, prayer, writing, or any activity that normally brings you peace of mind.
5. The mystery comes to life after a death.
When someone you love is no longer in the flesh, their invisible world comes closer. Your own senses get heightened to the unseen forces that are always a part of life, but not always noticed. This journey of paying attention to them can be spiritually awakening for those who are open.
If you need help uncovering the (beautiful) truths that will help you recover from grief, Invisible Ink can lead you there.