5 stages of grief

It’s all I can do.

“We get no choice. If we love, we grieve.”

-Thomas Lynch

Today is Kellan’s due date. The one my doctor actually gave me. I think August will actually be harder then July. I hope I’m wrong.

I will never forget the first time I was introduced to the 5 stages of grief. I was 13 and my grandma was dying of pancreatic cancer. Hospice gave me several different things to read to help me. Nothing helped. She was a magnificent and amazing woman. I loved her so very much, and I was devastated that she was dying.

13 year old Tiffany, much like 33 year old Tiffany, didn’t want to read about the stages of grief. I was in denial (stage one) about my grandma dying. So much in denial that at her funeral I remember telling myself (in my head) over and over again that she was alive, going to get up out of her casket, and it was all a mean joke.

It wasn’t a joke. She was dead. And so is my son. There is no denial stage for me with this one.

I think the concept of the 5 stages of grief makes sense, but I don’t believe we move through the stages. This isn’t AA, and we aren’t going through the “steps to recovery”. I think we bounce between them.

  1. Denial – I never really had this with Kellan. Just that I couldn’t believe this was my reality.
  2. Anger – I’ll touch on this stage in detail below.
  3. Bargaining – I’ve played the “what if” game from the second I found out Kellan was gone – and I don’t know that I’ll ever be able to stop.
  4. Depression – I am not depressed, I am heartbroken. No medication or therapy will solve this. It will just take time.
  5. Acceptance – I have accepted that Kellan is gone, but I am still absolutely devastated.

The stage that really bothers me is anger. I think that in all explanations of the stages, they fail to explain with anger is jealousy. Jealousy and fear. This is where I am going to get uncomfortably real and raw….

I am in a phase of my grief where everything feels precious. I watch people walk around and post pictures with their pregnant bellies, their new babies, their children, their families. I watch and I feel a strong sting of jealousy.

I have never in my life thought of myself as a jealous person, so this is a very strange feeling for me. I have always been happy for other’s joy. But now I can’t help the jealousy I have and I hate it so much. It’s not that I don’t want others to have joy, it’s that I am jealous mine got taken from me. I feel resentment.

The weird thing about this whole process, is that I don’t want to NOT see these things. I don’t want to be excluded, or not be told about things. I AM happy for people and I do want to know and see things. Sometimes I’m ok. Sometimes I break down. Sometimes I’m jealous. I don’t know how I’ll be, and I truly can’t control it. It sucks.

I also feel guilt for feeling this way. I feel embarrassed. It is horrible. And no “stage of grief” describes this or tells you it’s coming.

I was talking to my husband about these feelings and he said something that made a lot of sense. Not to feel resentment, but to see how fortunate others are. Feel happy for them, but it’s ok to feel sad for us. He is such a strong and intelligent man. I wish so badly that I could channel his thoughts and feel the way he does. But I get jealous. I get resentful. And I didn’t know I would feel this way.

Fear and anxiety. The only reason I know that my fear and anxiety of things is normal is because of the other articles and info I have read or gathered from women who have gone through what I have. No stage of grief describes fear.

Fear of seeing people. Fear of being asked if you had your baby. Fear of breaking down in front of others. It makes you want to isolate yourself as a form of protection. I have done my best to not do this, but some days I wish I could just run away as far as possible where no one knows me.

But that’s not realistic. People do know me, and people know I was 36 weeks pregnant. A lot of people know I lost my son, a lot of people don’t. And I have to be prepared to handle it. And it’s scary. But being scared of it isn’t going to stop the situation.

Yesterday I went and got my nails done. It was something I was very scared to do. I knew the last time they saw me, I was about to have my maternity pictures taken. I picked the specific mint color because I thought it would look great for baby boy maternity pictures. I knew they were going to ask me about my baby. I was very fearful.

Sure enough, I sat down and the question was asked with happiness and excitement, “Did you have your baby?” and I broke down. I told her through shaken words that my son passed away. The tears came, I couldn’t stop them. My heart hurt for her as much as it hurt for me. You could see the complete look of horror and devastation she felt. That is what I feared. But I got through it. I wiped my tears and I breathed.

I am fearful because I wonder when I walk into a room if everyone knows what happened. Or do they not? Are they all looking at me like I am broken, and feeling sorry for me? Or am I just another person in a room full of others? I never know, and this is scary.

Sometimes I do know everyone in the room. And it feels as though each person is walking on eggshells wondering what to say to me. Feeling sorry for me, and just waiting to see what I do and how I act. Is this really happening, or is my fear making it up? I’m unsure. But I do know fear is a very real part of grief, and I never knew about it.

As I continue to navigate through this process, I keep realizing how much I didn’t know. I’ve always thought of myself as a well educated individual, but you don’t know what you don’t know.

I wish so much that I could somehow prevent anyone else from ever feeling this way. But I know I can’t. So I will continue to write, and I will continue to be real. It’s all I can do.

Published by Tiffany Langer

Professional in Marketing, Leadership, and Business. Married to a hockey coach....and the game. So I suppose I'm a Professional Coach's Wife as well. Mom to one perfect little boy in heaven, Kellan.

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3 Comments

  1. When I had a miscarriage at 13 weeks in January the hardest part was when I had to tell people face to face. I remember the first one in the copy room at church. She walked in and said “are you feeling pregnant yet?” I had told her weeks before how I was so “lucky” I wasn’t feeling really intense pregnancy symptoms. I went full ugly cry on her, I felt so bad for her, she was so kind but I can’t imagine how she felt. The next day the same thing happened in the Y lobby. I remember thinking “why am I even leaving my house?”. Just last month I saw a mom from a dance class we both had our 2 year olds in. We were both early in our pregnancy at that time, now nearing the end of her pregnancy. I watched her glance at my non existent belly and I felt like she just knew. She didn’t say anything about my baby or loss, and I couldn’t have been more thankful.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “I am fearful because I wonder when I walk into a room if everyone knows what happened. Or do they not? Are they all looking at me like I am broken, and feeling sorry for me? Or am I just another person in a room full of others. I never know, and this is scary.”

    Your talent & passion for writing is really playin’ with my heart strings.

    If anything, Tiffany, YOU are stronger than us.

    keep keepin’ it real.
    prayers & thoughts to your heart.

    -abs

    Liked by 1 person

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