‘Stages of Grief’ is not a favourite term for some people. Perhaps they fear having to experience them in a particular order. And if they don’t, they might think they’re doing something wrong. I find it helpful to think of manoeuvring my way through stages of grief. Sometimes it’s important to think of a silent dance without music – one step forward and two backwards. This often means you find yourself in a familiar stage while thinking you’d conquered it months ago.
I often use the term ‘Faces of Grief’. “I confront and practise them in no particular order. I face them time and again, sometimes together or one at a time. It is like moving through a crowd, identifying the faces I have grown to know so well, admitting the more I know them, the more I understand and am free to trust” (WinterGrief p.23).
I’ve come to appreciate the term ‘Seasons of Grief’. For children’s grief Dr. Donna A. Gaffney identifies several key seasons: the first day after death, services, re-entry to life following crisis; the first year; and significant life events of following years (p. 4). I think these particular times are important for adults as well.
Granted, one size doesn’t fit all when it comes to grief, but these concepts can be helpful. Consider applying the words below to grief:
Winter is a season
Winter ushers in spring
Spring eases in with all its beauty and potential for new life.
Spring leads the way into a new season of expectation and colour. Why?
- winter has strengthened important root systems
- winter has provided a cover for bulbs to prepare for spring
- winter has protected vines tucked into the earth
- caregivers have weeded destructive roots at significant times
When spring comes in her beauty, winter recedes – not to deny it will return.
Spring comes with assurance that she can develop in due season.
Jot a few notes in your journal