Grief is deep emotional pain caused by losing not only a loved one, but also losing a cherished bond or even by a drastic change in your life. It really hits deep and can cause people to feel all sorts of different ways for a prolonged period of time. Life has a way of always throwing events or situations at us that throw us for a loop emotionally and foster change and improvement within us. This change and improvement doesn’t come easy, as grief can be very painful. It can come in waves and when you think you may be over it, it comes back rearing its ugly head once again. When it comes to grief, there are five stages that most people cycle through.

The five stages of grief are denial, depression, bargaining, anger, and acceptance. These stages can vary in intensity and can be the cause of some serious emotion disturbance for quite a while. Even after the acceptance stage, some people can fall into one of the other stages again (keep in mind the stages are not in order). Some people may even skip stages altogether in their recovery process. Grief has no standard way of operation. We all feel whatever we feel when we have to go through it and no one should feel bad about how they respond to grief. When it comes to grief, there is no timeline for healing, either. It can take months or even years. As I said before, some people never fully heal and can only learn to live with it. I know I have had to, as losing my mother over two years ago wrecked my world and I still feel pain. I don’t think I ever will stop feeling the pain.

The pain I felt losing my mother hurt like nothing else. The best way to describe it is like being hit by a truck that comes back around every so often to try and finish the job. Whenever I think that I have a hold on my grief, something can stimulate me right back into one of the stages. For me personally, I seem to hover over anger quite a bit. I am very angry my mother isn’t here to see my beautiful son (she nicknamed him president due to having high hopes for him). I’m angry she isn’t here to see the father/man I have become. I’m angry she can’t impart her wisdom onto his little soul. I’m angry she isn’t there for me. On the flip side, I feel like the denial stage came and went. I looked death straight in the face through her eyes, so I could not deny the truth and I never did. She’s gone. It hurts like hell. Some days I fall into a hazy state for a few seconds because of a memory or smell that reminds me of her. The month of May in particular is very hard for me as it contains both mother’s day and the day she passed away. I bargained quite a bit in the beginning, begging to go back in time to do something to prevent what happened. Grief has damaged me beyond repair, but also helped to catapult me into becoming a more powerful man. I feel like the profound effect that my grief has had on my life has overall changed me for the better just like it should for others as well.

Life is full of ups and downs. Things come into our lives and circumstance may take them out of our lives. Appreciate the things you have not only when you have them, but when they leave as well. Appreciate the lessons learned. Appreciate the growth you had in the situation. Appreciate the love you had. Appreciate and let these experiences mold you into a more powerful individual. I would be heavily ashamed of myself if I was the same person I was last year or the year before. Through my grief recovery and therapy, I was able to find a path forward and continue to live my life. I’ve made strides in my career field and also my physical and mental health. I’ve learned lessons and knowledge I can impart to my son. My experiences with my mother shaped me into who I am today and laid the groundwork for my continued development. In a way, it’s almost like my mother is still here, teaching my son through me.

Grief is painful, but it can and should lead into a more powerful individual. We just need to take our time, surround ourselves with the people who love us and want to hear us, and most of all, have patience with ourselves. We owe it to ourselves, past, present, and future to keep moving forward.