One of the most challenging aspects of grief is its unpredictability. We often are caught off-guard by its appearance and return. We think we are on the road to recovery. We think we are healing, or maybe even fully healed. And then it strikes again.
A song, scent, or something visual can be a trigger at any moment. We pass someone on the street that reminds us of a deceased loved one. A scene in a movie can take us back in time to a similar event in our own life. We’re walking down the produce aisle in our grocery store and we become emotional. We’ve shopped dozens of times since our mother’s death, but today the sweet potatoes remind us of our mom and her Thanksgiving dish.
Five stages of the grieving process are identified as: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance. The tricky part is that we don’t progress through the process and are done with it. We might find ourselves jumping erratically from one stage to another and back again. We can be stuck in a stage for an extended period of time only to return to it again years later. Or we go through it all only to return and start all over again at a later date.
Grief knows when we’re vulnerable. If we’re tired, hungry, or stressed, we’re more open to the emotional pain of loss. We have to work through the grieving process, but keeping busy with meaningful activities and people we care about does ease the pain.
If you’re feeling sad, spend time with the ones you love. Lean on others to get you past this dreary period. And include Jesus and Mary on your list of go-to people. They will keep you company anytime, day or night.