Denial is one of the stages of grief. We have all experienced denial at some point in our journey of loss. It comes and goes, the cost of denial can be great. In the early days of grief we are somewhat protected by shock. You just find yourself going through the motions to get through the long days. But once shock leaves, denial can bring you to a place of avoidance.
I visit avoidance more often than I’d care to admit. Even today just entering my sixth year of my journey after losing my only child Brittany, I find avoidance creeps back in when it comes to facing my grief. I know there are some that believe that at this stage, I should not be dealing with these feelings, but I’m here to say that grief never leaves you, it just becomes part of who you are. You learn how to live with it. You can even have a good life. You can even laugh. But avoidance – it’s always lurking behind the curtain of grief that covers your life.
This time of year brings more avoidance for me. The date Brittany died, October 13th has just passed. This year I did something different. Instead of staying home and wallowing in my misery, I went to Florida and spent some time in a place I love to visit. What I found is while that was a good thing, it was also a bad thing. After I returned home, my grief was waiting for me. I tried very hard to avoid it, but it showed up and demanded to be recognized.
So what I’ve learned is that you can deny your loss, you can avoid your loss, but grief will have it’s day and if you want to continue to heal – you must let the grief come. It will irritate you until you can no longer avoid it. You must wrestle with it. Cry over it and then get up and dust off the pain and sorrow – then move on. Denying it or avoiding it will only make it worse. Let it have it’s day and then say “ok” enough of it. It’s time to let it have it’s way and then you can breathe again.
Until next time,
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I don’t think I deny my grief. I tend to look at it right in the face, which can be a problem, when I am trying to move forward. Moving forward feels like I am denying my grief.
I get that Claudia. I felt the same way too. Someone said to me once that when I begin to feel that moving forward is denying my grief, to remember my daughter and how not moving on would not honor her life. I had never thought of it that way. I would never want to not honor my daughter’s life. She was so special. I’ve lost my mom (48), my grandmother (70) and my daughter (17). It’s been a tough road. Everyone’s loss is uniquely different. It’s not something you get over – you walk through it. It will always be there even while you move forward. Move forward one step at a time.