Introspection…The 6th Stage of Grief?

These are my grandparents. My grandfather passed in 1978 and my grandmother passed just this July.

I’m pretty sure most folks are familiar with the 5 accepted stages of grief. Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and finally Acceptance.

I seem to have found a 6th one…introspection.

Actually I am not sure I’ve even gone through 5 stages. I didn’t feel denial when my grandma’s condition was deemed terminal. I accepted quite quickly that this is what she expected us to do for her. I did have some anger but it was directed at the right people. I didn’t bargain with anyone other than my grandma to please pass as peacefully as possible in between spending time reading “cook Britain”.

I’ll admit to depression…that one I’m am dealing with still but I’m winning against it more than it is winning against me. I still weep when I think of things that I know sooner rather than later will be able to make me smile. I can hear her in my head a lot though and it becomes more comforting with each passing day.

So it would seem that I should be happily at acceptance or at least most of the way there.

I’ve been stuck in a place of introspection for about a month now and what I am coming to find is that as a mother I’m pretty sure I’m not as bad as I want to think I am, that I did truly marry well to the man that doesn’t just love me but accepts me for everything I am, that I deeply value being seen as a person with integrity and honesty, I balance family and career with more finesse than I expected I could and taking stock of the people in my life.

I’m realizing that I deeply want to be happy with everything I do and that I would love to use the skills that make me feel like I am helping people and making a difference no matter how small. I’m good at small details, connecting people in ways that benefit them, tackling problems and finding solutions. In discussions with my dad I’ve come to realize I’d be one hell of a Crisis Manager esp when it comes to customer relations/care/problem resolutions.

I’ve learned I want to live in the U.K. for a time and run a pub. I’ve added this one to my dream list.

I also want to start surrounding myself with more people who say what they mean and mean what they say because I believe in doing that myself.

Now let me preface where I am about to go by saying I’m not expecting the world to stop because I’ve lost someone. It is completely unrealistic to expect everyone to dawn mourning black and stop breathing because you have pain in your heart. This isn’t about folks not putting on large displays of grief about my loss what this was is about is discovering that maybe the deadwood relationships in your life aren’t the ones you think they are.

In my opinion simple words at times of loss mean more than large opulent displays. I often think of Charlotte in Sex in the City where at the funeral of Miranda’s mother she says of the flowers “They were supposed to say, “I’m sorry for your loss,” not “You’re dead, let’s disco…”

In the weeks following my loss I’ve gotten a really great idea about who walks their talk. I think I’m more surprised by the results as I have seen compassion from people I’ve know for years but never met face to face, people I am just beginning to build friendships with, folks I only know through Twitter, and folks I’ve only really known from a political environment all take a moment to offer me their thoughts and for that I thank them.

With all the support I got though I’ve found that I have never felt more friendless in my whole life. Where were the folks that said they loved me and would be there for me always? Where were the folks that told me we were a family? Where were these people that said we were going to be tight together?

If you know please do enlighten me because I’m still trying to figure it out.

I’ve realized I’ve tired of investing in relationships, both personal and professional, where folks think that the secret of life is to say things you have absolutely no intention of following up with. It isn’t something you can’t avoid, however, it is something that you don’t have to let history repeat itself about.

Fool me once shame on you (in one case to the tune of $12,000….yup that number still makes me ill).

Fool me twice shame on me for being a spineless twit who didn’t inform you this wouldn’t happen a second time.

Finally I’ve realized that I better stop and smell the roses and stop worrying so much about things that don’t matter. Watching Nathaniel at football, getting excited about Ashleigh’s first dance recital next month, and hoping Nicholas will cross over soon to being a potty trained human are the moments life is about. It had gotten to the point where I didn’t see the moments that make a life amazing until I looked back at them and I’m tired of having to look back to see the great things that make my life great.




About Shirley Robert

Wife, Mom, Politician, Project Manager, Arthritic, Blue Bomber Season Ticket holder, Mary Kay Rep, and Advocate. I'm a whole lot of different and proud of it! View all posts by Shirley Robert

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