Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Stages of Grief

Elisabeth Kubler-Ross described the pattern of emotions that a person goes through when confronted with a tragic situation. She observed that people go through, in order: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. There is apparently no scientific basis for this pattern. Which makes sense to me since I'm not going through them in order.

Ginny's death was such a shock to me that I kind of hit the depression angle first. I got angry yesterday, and cried the whole time I wrote my blog post. There's nothing I can bargain for or with. I guess right now I'm in denial because I'm removed from it, but I know that as soon as I see our friends or her family I'm going to jump right back to depression.

What I'm saying is, Elisabeth Kubler-Ross is an idiot. I'm not saying she wasn't a smart lady, but her model is severely flawed. You can't map someone's grief. You can't define the way a person is going to feel in the wake of a tragedy. I reacted totally differently to Patrick's death last fall. Some people never even reach acceptance. You may be able to live with it, but you don't necessarily accept it.

I keep remembering all of these random things about Ginny that make me inexplicably happy. (No, not inexplicably; there are some HILARIOUS memories I have of her.) I almost feel guilty for feeling any happiness right now because nothing makes sense. But I want people to try to be happy whenever I die. I want the good things remembered. I think most people do, and I think it's wrong to try an shut down those memories because of some prescribed idea of what it is to grieve. Remembering happier times is getting me through this, and if I smile or laugh in the next few days, it will keep me from going to a dark, unforgiving place where acceptance isn't an option. It's what I need to make sense of something that you really can't make sense of.

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)
-E.E. Cummings

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