there is something you should know about me.. i am a firm believer in a good therapy session. at one point in my life i was seeing two different types of therapists TWICE a week. there is something about an hour in that magical room that teaches you just how messed up you are… and then how you can heal from those messes.
i went to therapy while cooper was in treatment and then i reluctantly went back to therapy about a year after he died. and let me tell you, the LAST place you want to walk into after your brother has just died, is your therapists office. but of course she was the first person to call me, and i sent her to voicemail only to walk into her office a year later. and in true kassidy fashion i walked in a hot mess.
it was during this second round of intense therapy that i learned the FACTS about grieving.
YES. everyone grieves differently. YES. your stages are different than others. and YES. you CAN & WILL grieve people and things that are not dead. that’s an important one. a common misconception around the word “grief” is that you are specifically grieving the dead, when actually you can grieve the ending of a relationship, dream job, or even losing your cat. death does not equal grief. loss equals grief.
this chart below is what changed my views on grief. i HATED the “5 stages of grief” chart. i felt like i needed to hit all 5 stages at a certain period of time and that once i moved passed a stage, that was it, i couldn’t move back. this chart explains what grief is and how it feels. like you are in a big, deep hole. all by yourself.
the first 6 months to year of grief you are in shock, you don’t believe the person is dead or that the job is gone. eventually you move down the line and to the very deep crevasses of the hole that is grief. and once you get there you feel the cold dark ground press against your skin, you’ve reached loneliness. in my head, loneliness is a she (so just go along with it). she is big and she is dark and she is scary. she holds you tight like a snake wrapping around a mouse. she tells you that life will not go on without the job or the person or the cat. she tells you that you will be alone and unworthy forever. she reminds you that you are ALONE.
until you realize you’re not.
now you’ve re-entered the world. you’re not on that cold ground anymore you’ve resurfaced just enough to hear the word “new”. that is a word of hope, a word that will remind you where there is grief and sadness, there is light. there is new relationships, new strengths, new patterns, there. is. hope.
it is impossible to find loneliness and hope in the same dark pit.
you must resurface just enough to see the light.
there is no light in loneliness.
i know that because i remember the exact moment i hit her dark floor. i remember hitting the loneliness and thinking i never want to be here again. yet, cooper isn’t the only thing i grieve. i hit the ground of loneliness often, more often than i would like to admit.
but i also choose to fish myself the hell out of there and re-enter into where the light is.
but again, i have to make that choice.
the first time i made that choice it took me 6 months. 6 months in that pit to decide i was going to go where the light was.
and with each loss, its a little easier to choose to get up again. to choose to go to the light.
friends, if you’re sitting on the floor of loneliness. get up. look up. find the light and go towards it.
it will be the hardest thing you ever do but you will not regret it for a second.
you will struggle and it will hurt and then guess what?
YOU. WILL. HEAL. & YOU. WILL. GROW. and you will become new and bright, just like that light.