Can you have two different emotions simultaneously going through your body? Can you actually hate and love some in that same moment of time? Think about it, next time someone you love says something shit to you. In that moment you are sad, or angry aren't you? You don’t love them. You go through stages. Grief apparently is about going through stages. You pass through each stage and then you are considered ‘better’ because you have reached ‘acceptance’. This is all a bit formulaic for my liking and I want to consider another approach.
Meet Amber and Millie. They have both been through some shit. Five years ago their mums died of cancer. Here are some diary extracts from the pair of them. They are no longer friends. They hate each others guts. The grief broke their friendship.
I just want the world to end. I want it to stop turning round and round like a fucking spinny thing. I need time to stop and think and understand the shit that has just gone down. Apparently I am in denial. What a load of old bollocks. Of course I am in denial, if it didn’t happen, she will still come back. She will. She has to. Apparently there are five stages of grief. I appear to be in stage one. It’s been five fucking years and I’m still in stage one. You know what, I don’t even care. She will come back, she has to, she’s my mother, she’s my actual mother who left me and is going to come back. The world can keep on turning, but I’m not moving. I’m waiting here until she finds me. She will find me and we will be happy again. Don’t get me wrong; I know she’s gone. I know that, but if I accept that then I am accepting I will never see her again and I can’t face a life without my mum. That’s unthinkable. Ok so maybe it’s not healthy, but not having someone that loves you unconditional that only mum can, is unhealthy.
I still think about her, everyday. Well of course I do. I miss her, oh I miss her so much I feel that the weight of it might push me into the floor. What I would give to have her back in life, but I know that will never happen. I’ve accepted what’s happened, I’ve moved on – not away, not forgetting, just forward. I had to, didn’t I? The world keeps on turning and I’m moving with it. Each day is another day without her, but she’s always in my memories, always in my mind. Life is an absolute bitch, but life and death – it’s just another slice of cake. It happens. It just fucking happens.
What would happen if these two met? Would they understand there different grieving process or would they fight? I think they would fight. Fight until their deaths. How can they be in such different places. If I was Amber, I would make Millie feel shit. Shit for accepting it. Shit for moving on. But if I was Millie, I would feel sorry for Amber. Poor Amber, not being able to move on, living in denial must suck. Who would win? Amber or Millie?
Here’s another thought. What happens if those two diary extracts come from the same person? Can a person be in the same place physically but have two polar opposite feelings? Amber and Millie are inside my head. Everyday they fight and one of these days one of them is going to win. I can’t tell you who because if I say Millie I have to accept and if I say Amber I’m not really living.
They say grieving is a process, but what happens if you are split in two and the two parts are going through different processes. Can you ever gain balance?
Ps. my mum did die five years ago from bowel cancer. This is not meant to be a depressing post nor is it an entirely factual one. More a post to try to share how grief is different for everyone and that perhaps the five stages of grief is total bollocks.