To hell with “the grieivng process.” Grief does not have to follow any sort of process. “Process” implies a linear continuum, with a clearly delineated start and finish. People in grief – especially severe grief – rarely experience such tidy bereavement. In reality, grief can be messy, going in all sorts of different directions, and doesn’t give a damn about process or clunky psychiatric definitions. And that’s okay. The notion of what grief is becomes expanded with each new experience of it.
YOU, a stranger in a strange land, may define your own style of grieving by living it. Take as long as you wish – the rest of your life, if you want to. Shake your fist at the sky, scream at the moon, run like an animal naked through the forest. Or be silent and dwell within. Carve the face of your loved one out of a mountaintop boulder. Take a trip, go for long walks and drives. Sleep for weeks. Have lucid dreams. Make the world your church. Cry every day, hard, for two years. Sail a small boat to the tropics. Write a book. Learn how to make your own mayonnaise. Throw paint at canvasses. Whatever! Just don’t be concerned about following any process. Be depressed when you want to, sing when you want to, talk to yourself, go to poetry slams, float in the kiddie pool all day, have your wife make an ice cream sundae on your head.
Just do it your way. And by doing so, who knows – maybe you’ll find reasons to keep going. By doing so, you’ll expand the possibilities of living, not only for yourself, but for all of us, giving us the inspiration to explore this indefinable, painful, sacred experience as each of us sees fit. As each of us deserves. And the great Book of Life will add chapters for every single human being, chapters that are part of the ever-evolving manual, the only manual on bereavement that is worthy of reading.
Grieve! Live! You! Here! Now!