This year I have lost two very special people in my life. This is the first real loss I have experienced, and they happened just a month apart. In health class I learned about grief and the stages that come with it; denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. When first hearing the news, I felt a lot of denial and anger. I felt it for days and even weeks. I bargained too. I thought of everything I should’ve done or said. I felt the depression. I felt like everything around me was a constant reminder of who I had lost. Every day was a little harder to get out of bed and face a world where these people weren’t in it. And eventually, I found acceptance. I accepted that these people lived a rich, fulfilling life that made a positive impact on everyone they met. In the end, I knew they died content with how they lived. The idea brought me peace.
However, through this process, I also found that grieving isn’t a simple five-step process that cures you of missing the people you love. The process doesn’t go in a simple order. With anger, I felt depression, and with bargaining, I felt denial. The process doesn’t tell you how it will feel watching your family hurt too. And it doesn’t tell you how to watch your mother and father sob as they tell you the devastating news. It doesn’t tell you how many times you will find yourself with tears streaming down your face and how hard it is to hide these tears when you’re in public. It doesn’t tell you how your outlook on life will completely change because these special people are no longer on Earth. It doesn’t mention that every relationship you have will change because you now realize who and what is important in life. You see who was there for you at 1 a.m. when it was all too much, and you see you only send you an “I’m sorry” text.
In 9th-grade health class, I didn’t learn any of this. I just learned five steps that I was supposed to go through to eventually feel better and move on. But at the end of the day, it isn’t about simple steps. It’s about reflecting on the special life of a loved one who meant so much to you. It’s about thinking about how they shaped you as a person and embracing those qualities. It’s about finding inner strength. Losing these people wasn’t easy, but going through my own grieving steps gave me the realization that I am capable of a life where I live through their memory. And this is what brings me true acceptance.