Monday, October 20, 2008

The Many Phases of Grief

There seems to be some disagreement on the number of stages of grief. It varies from 4 to 8, depending on how you choose to break it down. But however many there are, one must pass though all of them at some point.

Today I am grieving for the tragic loss of a friend and colleague, who sadly took her own life while struggling through a battle with cancer. I am still in the first stage of shock. The depth and reality of the situation has not had time to sink in yet.

There is no comfort in the numbness of shock, like the word itself, it is harsh and electric and makes your insides tremble like your world is caving in on itself. Nothing makes sense, and all logic and reality is a fog. Everything that was so important yesterday crumbles away meaningless. Life and all it's irony laugh at you from the grave. All we are left with is "Why?"

It's been a tough weekend, with lots of time spent thinking deep provocative thoughts. I wanted a break from my "problems", well I certainly got that. In my deepest moments of sadness I sometimes just wanted my problems back as a distraction. They were so trivial and so much easier to deal with. They did not involve death.

Tomorrow I have appointments and clients and the world will keep turning and my "problems" will be waiting for me. The grief will follow me like a ghostly shadow. A subtle reminder about what really is a "problem" and how we too often fail to recognize the real problems of real people who disappear in a heartbeat. Perhaps in grief we can find a way to change that.

Rest in peace Heather. You are truly missed.

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