How Long Is Too Long To Grieve?

There are so many times in my life and the history of my blogging that I am compelled to write a post that exposes my true feelings. Let’s be honest.. everyone has problems and we have enough of our own problems that listening to other people’s problems isn’t what we really want to do. We want to escape our lives in that 10 minute chat with our friend on the phone, we want to forget about our problem while we tune into that TV show once a week.. whatever the remedy, we try for it. I made a promise to myself when I rebranded to my new blog that there would be more of me and less of everything else. This is something I struggle with. It’s hard to put ypur problems out there. It’s hard to share the intimate details of your feelings, yet here I lay at night thinking.. “Just blog it Bobbie.. others can relate. Take the step.” I still struggle to execute that, but I am truly trying. The last few months has been an incrediable whirlwind for me. The last year even more so. 

It’s the grieving process.

Yesterday was a profound day for me. I kept quite. Very quite. It was me, alone. It was an anniversary. Not just any anniversary, but the anniversary marking 1 year ago that I lost my grandmother. The grandmother that was very much hidden to me by my family. I didn’t even know what words to say. I still don’t. I wanted to post something, anything.. but words escaped me. The tears did too. They streamed down my face. I managed to compose myself for some of the day, but it was a very rocky road. It was truly a hard day and to make matters worse.. the family that lied to me for the last 30+ year couldn’t take any time to acknowledge the day or my grief. 

When people are grieving, it’s kind of like a storm, and you need something to grab on to, but often you have to brave it on your own. – Clare Bowen

What Is The Grieving Process?

According to PyschCentral.com there are 5 stages of grieving. The five stages do not necessarily occur in order. We often move between stages before achieving a more peaceful acceptance of death. The five stages of grieving include:

  • Denial & Isolation – It is a perfectly normal reaction to rationalize overwhelming emotions. It is a defense mechanism that buffers the immediate shock and helps us cope with or forget about it for the moment. Whether the death is terminal illness or sudden, these always become a part of the process we face in the days, weeks, months, years ahead.
  • Anger – The reality of the death and the pain re-emerge. We are not ready. The intense emotion is deflected from our vulnerable core, redirected and expressed instead as anger.We may be angry with the doctors, care takers or even the loved one. The anger overwhelms us and makes it that miserable window of time when we are just angry with everything.
  • Bargaining – The normal reaction to feelings of helplessness and vulnerability is often a need to regain control. We question ourselves: If only we had sought medical attention sooner.. If only we got a second opinion from another doctor.. If only we had tried to be a better person toward them.. We try and cover up the problem by rationalizing in our heads and placing the blame on ourselves.
  • Depression – The depression can come in the form of sadness and regret. We worry about everything in regards to the loss. We worry we have spent less time with others that depend on us. We worry that we may not have said everything or may not get to say everything. We worry about the impact on the family and ourselves. We also hide. We remove ourselves from social situations, we remain home bodies. This is the quiet preparation to separate and to bid our loved one farewell. We cry and the emotions are hidden, as if they are secrets to not be let out.
  • Acceptance – Coping with loss is a ultimately a deeply personal and singular experience. Nobody can help you go through it more easily or understand all the emotions that you’re going through. Some people will reach acceptance at a much earlier point then others. Some may never truly reach full acceptance. 
If I am being completely honest, I am truthfully stuck between anger, bargaining and depression. This is true in both of the grieving matters within my life. 
 
Dear Grandma, I miss you today as much as yesterday and the day before. I miss you will all my heart and I will never let that go. One year ago today.. I was there beside you, crying, I wasn’t near ready to say goodbye. I said I love you and said everything I felt I really wanted to say as I held your hand. I will love you forever and always. You were taken to soon from our lives. I miss you Grandma! You were one of a kind. Love Always & Forever! Your Granddaughter, Bobbie

What Is The Grieving Process For Pets?

More recently, we lost our beloved Sparky. He was my baby. He will ALWAYS be my baby. I realize that some people aren’t pet people and others never understand the bond between a pet and owner, but I will be truthful in saying.. I feel like I burried a child. The grieving process for my Sparky has been NO easier then any other death that I have experienced. 
 
Grieving is a personal and highly individual experience. Just as some people find grief comes in stages with loved ones, the same goes for a pet. You may experience the different feelings such as denial, anger, guilt, depression, and eventually acceptance and resolution. Others find that grief is more cyclical, coming in waves, or a series of highs and lows. The lows are likely to be deeper and longer at the beginning and then gradually become shorter and less intense as time goes by. Still, even years after a loss, a sight, a sound, or a special anniversary can spark memories that trigger a strong sense of grief. This happens to be the case with my loss. 
 
Every day that goes by I miss him more. I feel like it’s a nightmare and he is going to walk up to my door and walk right in. I can’t let go. I can’t. My heart has never felt an ache like this before. Sparky was my companion.. he was the GLUE in this family. I know he was a pet, but he was so much more for us. The kids still miss him dearly. Although I am able to stop my breakdowns occassionally, they are still as frequent as they were on that dreadful day October 4. They are still as heartbreaking. They still bring me to the floor with tears and heartache.
 
Grieiving is a very personal process. Please take the time to consider this when helping a friend or family through grieving. If you are grieving remember, no time is too soon and no time is too long. You will circle back many time before you are ready and that is okay. 
 
Dear Sparky, My heart aches so very much for you. I miss you so incredibly much that I want to stay in bed and cry. You stood with me through all the losses and all the trials in my life. When I rescued you, I never knew how badly my heart needed you. You were my missing piece. I knew that I would have to say good-bye, but never imagined it would be this soon or this horrible. Every day I kiss you collar before bed. Everyday I stare at it waiting for you to come jump to me and I can put it back on. You are safely home now and your kidney disease can no longer hurt you. You have lots of fun and pick the perfect place for us. I’d give you my kidney if that meant I could have you back. I miss you more then anything! Rest well my sweet angel boy, momma’s baby. I love you, Mommy
 
I will end with my favorite poem about death that means so much to me and always reminds me of my loved ones. 
 
If tears could build a stairway,
and memories a lane.
I would walk right up to Heaven
and bring you back again.

No farewell words were spoken,
No time to say “Goodbye”.
You were gone before I knew it,
and only God knows why.

My heart still aches with sadness,
and secret tears still flow.
What it meant to love you –
No one can ever know.

But now I know you want me
to mourn for you no more;
To remember all the happy times
life still has much in store.

Since you’ll never be forgotten,
I pledge to you today
A hollowed place within my heart
is where you’ll always stay.

Grieving could be the hardest thing there is in life. Just remember, no matter how much the hurt, how much the pain, you are never alone!

Comments

3 Responses to “How Long Is Too Long To Grieve?”

  1. So sad
    November 27, 2013 at 6:58 pm

    I feel your pain. I am grieving too – grieving for the loss of my dad, my grandma, my uncle, my friend. And for other things – the loss of my mom’s good health, the loss of a relationship with my only child, the loss of a husband, the loss of 10 years of freedom, the loss of any self-respect and self-esteem. And sometimes it really does seem like I am all alone. I think if I didn’t have my grief I’d have nothing.

    • Bobbie
      December 4, 2013 at 1:02 pm

      I’m so sorry to hear that. I can totally relate. I am always looking and saying if I didn’t have grief I’d have nothing. I am sorry that you are going through this, just know that you are no alone. EVER.

  2. April 14, 2015 at 4:33 pm

    So very sorry for your loss and sorrow. Everyone grieves differently. We just buried our dog Murphy. He was almost 14. I’m grieving too. Thinking of you! Teresa from Nanahood.com

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