We can prepare ourselves for lots of things, ranging from a class presentation, a first date, or a job interview. We can practice over and over again and get the steps down to a T. But there are just some things you can’t even begin to prepare for, and before you know it, you are going through the motions, whether you like it or not.
You are told that there are seven stages of grief, and somewhere along those lines you assume that it is a steady, consistent process, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Grief is like a spiral staircase. It’s messy, it’s unpredictable, but most of all, it is repetitive.
When you go through something so traumatic and life-altering it suddenly becomes a fight for your own life, it is like you are floating through time, not really there experiencing the now, not really a person. You feel like you have to fight for what used to be, but it is a hopeless fight. Sometimes that fight or flight mode is constantly on, sometimes it resurfaces, and sometimes it feels like it is the only thing that is keeping you alive.
With grief, you swing high or low — there is no in between. You are either raging with fury or you succumb to your sorrow. And everyone is different; every day is different. You are on this tightrope waiting for the next wrong move, when you will fall to your death. It throws you in with the wolves and you have to fight for yourself again.
There is no right way of handling grief; there are no step-by-step instructions on how to get through it. It can take months or years; you may never get over it at all.
Grief is like a spiral staircase — there are only two ways to go, but there are a million different ways of handling it.