In the 1960’s, Elisabeth Kubler-Ross wrote a book and identified five stages of grief. You might have heard of them, but if not, they are as follows – denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.
But I am going to call bullshit on this. Because in my mind, there’s way more. Way more! In fact I’ve come up with ten, yes ten, extra stages of grief that no one ever told me about.
So here’s a little tongue-in-cheek look at the ten extra stages of grief I may or may not have experienced.
DO YOU WANT A PUNCH IN THE FACE?
Ever been in a conversation where someone is talking at you and all you want to do is punch them in the face? But you’re still smiling and nodding your head and saying to them ‘yes, that’s absolutely how I feel, of course you understand’.
Yeah, me either.
But on the off chance that this stage of grief did happen to you, please don’t act on it (no one needs assault charges to add to their grieving), however it’s perfectly fine to imagine it though.
The ‘drunk’ stage of grief is likely to kick in early and often. ‘Drunk’ grief is basically turning to the bottle and either feeling fabulous because all of a sudden your problems seem absolutely fine, or sobbing, à la ‘Bridget Jones’s Diary’, all by yourself. Either way, it’s best you keep the wine cupboard full during this stage.
‘Comical’ grief is when you find the whole sucky situation you’ve found yourself in, incredibly funny. Only to discover no one is actually laughing along with you. During this stage of grief it is likely you will make inappropriate jokes that normally fall completely flat.
It might go something like this.
Me: Unfortunately my husband died.
Stranger: Oh, I had no idea, I am so sorry, that’s awful.
Me: It’s ok, I never really liked him anyway. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha, I’m joking, I’m joking.
Stanger: I don’t really get it.
Me: You probably don’t. Sorry, I have a weird sense of humour.
I thought I had experienced fatigue, tiredness and exhaustion until grief came along and tapped me on the shoulder one day. I have never been through something more exhausting than grief. Why? Because it’s all consuming. Physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually. And when you’re going through this stage and someone tells you they’re tired, you just shake your head and hope they’ll never know how tiring this whole process actually is!
THE BOMB DROP
This stage of grief I like to refer to as the ‘bomb drop’. It’s a stage of grief where you like to pop into casual conversation, often to a complete stranger, what has happened to you. Purely for shock factor and reaction. You casually drop the bomb, let it go off and walk away with a sense of satisfaction. While the person involved is left wondering what the hell just happened. It goes a little something like this.
Stranger: How are you?
Me: I’m good, thanks. I mean my husband dropped dead a few weeks ago, but other than that, I’m great.
Stranger: *awkward silence*
Me: Have an excellent day.
Do I know that life isn’t really that bad and that worse things could happen? Probably.
Do I care? No.
Should you encounter someone in their Negative Nelly stage of grief, best leave them to it, you will not make anything better. In fact you could find yourself on the receiving end of a punch in the face – please note earlier stage of grief.
The opposite to my friend Negative Nelly is Positive Polly. I quite like her, but she can also be a pain in the ass. Because Positive Polly will not let ANYTHING get in the way of her having a good day, not even a dead person. Positive Polly is living her best damn life, despite the fact you think she may have lost her mind.
Oh who doesn’t love a scroll through social media. And now I have all this time on my hands during those lonesome evenings, it’s just wonderful to spend it looking at everyone else’s perfect lives and feeling SO happy for them.
It’s likely if you’re in this stage you have had some pretty horrid thoughts about these people. Just a word of advice, NEVER comment on their social media, and I mean NEVER! Just keep scrolling and keep those horrid thoughts to yourself.
Also known as denial, this stage of grief comes about when you’re consumed in an average day-to-day task. Something like washing dishes, putting the washing out, or driving down the street. You almost feel normal, like nothing has happened, until it dawns on you that someone you love died. And you just shake your head in stunned amazement that this is now your actual life.
In order to escape the feeling of grief, you will often instead shift your focus and obsess over something else. Normally the most trivial thing possible. Maybe you develop an obsession with where you will send your five year-old to high school, maybe you will spend nights watching Survivor and thinking how much of a better contestant you’d be, maybe you spend hours googling how to get a job in Cambodia and start a new life – I mean I don’t personally know any of these obsessions, but you might. Either way, it’s a nice reprieve, so roll with it and who knows what obsession you will develop next.
LIFE IS SHORT
Now this is the best stage of grief! And one we should all stay in for as long as possible.
This stage of grief often has you engaging in activities you wouldn’t normally. Think new tattoos, jumping out of planes, deciding to walk 40 kilometers in one day when you’re one bottle of wine deep, going on incredible holiday adventures, buying that handbag you always wanted. Life is short people, do the things you want to do and make you feel good, it’s as simple as that.
You might be able to relate, you might think I’ve lost my mind, either way, what a roller coaster hey!
Want to know Jo’s take on Grief in relation to Covid19? Read about it in her post The world has changed, everything has shifted