A slippery little customer

English: Comfort in Grief

English: Comfort in Grief (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Grief, eh? Slippery little customer. It won’t be defined, no matter how you hard you try to pin it down.

Yesterday I was handed a bejewelled box and a book by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross by my daughter’s counsellor. The ‘intervention’ had come to an end and these were the legacy of the sessions.

The box had been hand-decorated by my daughter and had previously housed shoes. Now it was wrapped in brown parcel paper and covered in sequins. It contained a selection of brightly-coloured toys, stickers and pens, supposedly to comfort her in those moments when she was missing daddy. All I saw was flotsam which would invariably end up strewn about my living room floor. I asked her about the pink elephant.

“It’s a pink elephant,” she said.

“Would you like to cuddle it when you’re missing daddy?”

She looked me as if I’d just shat on the carpet. “……….It’s a pink elephant.”

Six weeks well spent then.

Kubler-Ross was a psychiatrist with an interest in dying, who coined five ‘stages’ which are apparently typical of grief. Denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance. I came across her soon after M died – those early days when I sought a ‘solution’ to my grief by spending a fortune on books on the subject.

Some books contained ‘road maps’ to recovery. Some were heavy with case studies and testimonials from people who had gone through it and survived. None of them made any sense to me though. I didn’t want to ‘recover’. I didn’t want to hear about other people’s losses. I wanted to stop retching every morning, I wanted the jags of anxiety to stop. I wanted M back and for Him not to be dead.

So my conclusion is this: Grief cannot be corralled or boxed or arranged into stages. Grief is different for everyone, as are expressions thereof.

The only solution is to put your head down and push through it. And of course, drink wine.

6 thoughts on “A slippery little customer

  1. Bless her. She sounds like she’s totally clued up. You doing a grand job. I seriously don’t know what’s goin on with all those boxes and pebbles and ropes. Sounds strange I know but workin in a drs and seein the counsellor’s get all of their garb out I think ‘what is that all about’ Obviously works for some and who am I to judge. Everyone deals with grief in their own way. My idea !! Drink wine Xx

  2. Rabbi Grollman and Therese Rando are grief experts, also. Of course, being of the funeral profession, we were taught A LOT about all of the foremost authorities’ points and focus’. E.K.R. is most prominent, I suppose. But as you stated, sometimes the ‘grief work’ is just that..our own selected set of tasks to just make it through an hour, a day, or a month..it ours alone to do, and somehow, in the end we can rightfully say we are our own best expert as to how we shall proceed down our given paths. Or maybe in your case, ‘stumble’ if you’ve indulged in abundant adult beverages. 🙂

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