- Autumn Quiles, LCSW
We are grieving. Individually and collectively- as families, as cities and as a country.
There is this idea that grief is a feeling that only comes with death of a living thing. Like maybe grief only wells up in response to the death of a family member or your beloved pet. In fact, grief is a normal, healthy response to the permanent end of... well, anything really. The permanent end- or death- of a job, or a relationship, or the experience of living on a particular street, or the school year, or the daily routine, or the Way It Used to Be.
We may grieve anything that ends. Certainly, we grieve anything that ends that was Important.
Grieving is a critical part of Adaptation. We must come to accept our loss before we can adapt to a new way of Being.
We must grieve the last relationship so we can adapt to the new love. We must grieve the last school before we can adapt to the new school. We must grieve The Way It Used to Be before we can adapt to The Way It Is.
If I look at all the things, Important Things, that have ended for me in the past several weeks, it is easy to recognize that I am grieving. I am sure, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that is true for you too. World-wide, every one of us, in one way or another, has experience an End. Maybe several Ends. Maybe some very Important Ends.
A fantastically amazing Swiss psychiatrist, named Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, sat for many years at the bedsides of people whose lives were Ending (a feat of courage and strength that inspires my deepest awe). She studied the psychological process of grief and generously shared her findings with the world. She defined 5 Stages of Grief: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance.
I believe that we all walk through these stages- sometimes moving forward and sometimes falling backward through them- as we grieve an End. And so, I believe that we are all, individually and collectively, moving through them now. Some days are denial days. Some days are depression days. And, if we are lucky enough to grieve an End until the end, we have days of acceptance. Until, of course, the next End comes.
This grieving is healthy. And natural. And what we need to do, to Adapt. But it's not easy. And for some, it can become convoluted or overwhelming. If this is happening to you or yours, please reach out. Call a friend. Video chat with family. And if it's still too much, give me a call.