I’ve been thinking about loss and grieving lately, considering how much impact Mom’s dying had on me, and the family, and my own response to the different kind of loss that I’ve been struggling with this fall. I did some looking, and found that most references still mention the classical model that I had always thought of:
But a lot of research I’ve looked at acknowledges that this is too simplistic. People do not ordinarily proceed through these steps in a sequential, nicely arranged step-by-step progression. Rather, they slide back and forth, sometimes revisiting the same stages over and over again, sometimes skipping around in the order, sometimes missing a stage completely. It turns out, too, that the model was never meant as stages of grief- rather, it’s stages passed through on “Receiving catastrophic news.”
The model I found today, incorporates these ideas:
T = To accept the reality of the loss
E = Experience the pain of the loss
A = Adjust to the new environment without the lost object
R = Reinvest in the new reality
They pick up from the last stage of the “basic 5”, and it’s one of those things that feels right to me.
So, if that makes sense, I guess I’m wandering between the adjusting, and the reinvesting pieces. I know the pain is receding rapidly; still there once in a while, of course, but not in any overwhelming way, or in any way that seems to threaten my own progress in dealing with depression.
The difference that I see with a tangible loss, compared to the intangible grief for a state of mind, is that the state of mind keeps trying to come back, in a sense, and when it can’t, it feels as if it was newly lost. This fits more with the idea of receiving catastrophic news, than a death or a complete loss, I think. Even though the naïve view of our relationship has been lost, so much of what we have always had has never been lost. This is a good thing, of course, but it causes my mind to grapple when a replay intrudes in a ‘normal’ state.
The great part though, is that both of us feel that we’re getting better. I know for me, it’s becoming much more comfortable to just be hanging out, a lot fewer niggles happening, and it doesn’t feel as if I’m interfering with something just by being in the room. We’re sharing more and more, and when I asked her today, she said she also felt that we’re doing better than we had been. I like that we both feel that, it’s nice to have it validated.
So, we just keep on going, hoping each day gets a little easier, and the reinvestments pay off. I think they will.