We've all heard about the five stages of grief, thanks to Elizabeth Kubler-Ross: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance.
I knew that once you hit a new stage, you could easily backslide.
What I didn't know was: They are all happening, all at once.
I talked to my best friend last week, telling her how mad I am. How I am just so angry that my daughter died. She responded, "Well at least you're in that stage now, right?" I laughed. I told her they are all happening RIGHT NOW. Just because I am angry doesn't mean I'm not totally bargaining with everything I have. And completely depressed as well. She told me this would be a good blog post. So here I am.
It's a nice thought that I could just walk down this path of grief and in the end, wind up at acceptance. I wish that I could fast-forward to the end of that path right now.
But I am all of these things, all at once right now.
I'm not sure it's denial, as much as disbelief and shock. I still have a lot of moments that I can't believe that my daughter is sitting in an urn on our mantle. Everything about that just seems so wrong. This can't possibly be my life. I'm a good person!
And the anger, it's most definitely there. Simmering below the surface if not active. Waiting for some kind of release.
The guilt I've been plagued with is a type of anger. When I'm not sure who to blame, it's easy to blame myself.
(At the memorial, my grandma, hugged me and said "It's not your fault. It was God's wish." My aunt hugged me next and told me sometime shit just happens. I responded, "Fuck God." So yeah, the anger is always present.)
The bargaining is always constant too. For me, it manifests in wishing things were different. In dreaming of my parallel universe, where I am breastfeeding my 4 day old baby. Thinking about everything I would give to make that happen. In the beginning, the bargaining even looked like: Take me instead. I'll give my own life for her in a second.
The depression is constant too. It's always hard to get out of bed in the morning. I lack motivation for life. I'm hiding from the world. I just feel so freaking sad.
And the acceptance. Can't say I'm there yet, though there have been glimpses of it, when I think that somehow, someway, we'll get through this. When I realize nothing I can do will bring Lydie back. When I realize that I did everything I could do to take care of her, and it wasn't my fault. When I feel like sometimes shit just happens, and it just happened to happen to us. When I think about how much I love my husband and my son and how rich my life is in many other ways. Even though I'll always, always be missing my daughter. A new friend from group is a year and two months out from losing her son to stillbirth. I asked where she was, and she said she prefers the word "resignation." She doesn't as much accept that her son died as she is resigned to it. I think that makes a lot of sense.
I think about how I look forward to being there, when it doesn't hurt as bad.