“Good Grief!”

My beautiful Dad passed away 8 weeks ago.

The initial weeks after his passing saw me encompassed in raw grief. The kind of grief constantly creeping up on you, and opening the flood gate of tears, when you least expect it.

The kind of grief where you  grapple to make sense of it all. When you are really grieving for yourself, as the person you loved so much is no longer available!

Memories flood in left, right and centre. Good memories and not so good ones. Relationships, no matter how loving, always have their moments. Grief causes us to feel we have missed moments. We feel we could have, should have, said more to our loved one while they were still alive. The missed opportunities can feel overwhelming.

Good Grief

Then something changes. Grief begins to settle. It doesn’t go away but it’s not as raw. It’s not as erratic. It becomes almost a comforting companion.

It starts to be “Good Grief”.

I’ve written many times about the Stages of Grief and I have my own favourite….the 5 Gs of Change.

The 5 G’s of Change

Griping – this stage is when you feel like you just can’t face it. It’s all too much. It’s chaotic, it’s stressful. It’s all about you.

Groaning– this stage is the complaining stage. You want to let everyone know how difficult life is in your world.

Groping – during this stage you begin to walk forward as if in a forest, moving the trees out of your way so you begin to see a little clearer

Grasping – You begin to understand what the new situation means

Growing – You begin to embrace the new. You look for ways to live again.

My Dad had been sick for many years, so my grief process started well before his passing. In some regards it’s been a helpful process, as it’s allowing me to travel through the stages of grief a little faster than average. I would have preferred he hadn’t suffered for so long though. Regrets are a huge part of grief.

The Grasping and Growing stages are when “Good Grief” begins to evolve.

It’s when the rawness of loss starts to dissipate. You can begin to remember your loved one calmly and even smile or laugh, without crying, as you let your mind linger on happy memories.

You are definitely still grieving but in a good way. You can breathe again. The overwhelming, suffocating cloud of grief lifts, replaced by love and appreciation of the time you had together with your loved one.

Chronic Illness and Good Grief

What about the grieving process in relation to chronic illness?

Can it possibly have a “Good Grief ” stage?

I think it can. Once we have gone through the rawness of our diagnosis, the associated life losses, the shock, the anger, the fear, we can move to the “Good Grief” stage.

You may have arrived at “Good Grief” without realising it.

As you research your disease, make positive changes to your life to accommodate it, find new hobbies or career paths, or perhaps settle into a life of medical retirement, you are in the midst of “Good Grief”.

You will often feel the sorrow of what chronic illness has taken. It’s hard not to be reminded daily. Grief may even cycle through the stages, especially if your disease is progressive. Even still, it’s important after each setback to clamour our way back to “Good Grief”

It’s about taking our pain and sorrow and doing something good with it.

It might be patient advocacy work or writing your story in a blog to reach out to others.

It may be as simple as having more empathy for neighbours , friends, family and colleagues who are unwell and reaching out to them to offer a hand of understanding.

It might be volunteering to be part of a research program associated with your disease

It might be taking up a hobby you always wanted to do but never had time.

All of these are examples of “Good Grief”

Don’t Be Scared

Don’t be scared to grieve. Don’t be scared to feel the rawness, the fear, the pain and the loss.

We need to journey through these stages to arrive at “Good Grief”

“Good Grief” offers hope of better days. Functional days with renewed purpose.

Chronic Illness is a part of your life, not all of your life.

As much as I love my Dad and always will, I’ve realised he is also a part of my life, not all of my life. I need to move forward without him, as hard as it is. I need to be grateful for the relationship we enjoyed throughout the years. I have those memories to hold onto always. My own precious memories of my beautiful Dad belong to me. They fill my “Good Grief” phase.

The 6 G’s of Change

I think I need to add a 6th stage to my Grief model…..so introducing the 6 G’s of Change.

Griping – this stage is when you feel like you just can’t face it. It’s all too much. It’s chaotic, it’s stressful. It’s all about you.

Groaning– this stage is the complaining stage. You want to let everyone know how difficult life is in your world.

Groping – during this stage you begin to walk forward as if in a forest, moving the trees out of your way so you begin to see a little clearer

Grasping – You begin to understand what the new situation means

Growing – You begin to embrace the new, and look for ways to live again.

Good Grief – This final stage offers hope of better days. Functional days arrive with renewed purpose. Acceptance brings peace.

If you are journeying through the phases of grief, I hope and pray, when the time is right for you, “Good Grief” will arrive.

With love,

Sam xx

If you’re looking for genuine support, care, understanding and friendship, you are so welcome to join my closed Facebook support forumMedical Musings with Friends . It’s a safe place to connect with others living with chronic and complex diseases, who truly understand the daily challenges. A warm welcome awaits.

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4 thoughts on ““Good Grief!”

  1. Sam, I am sorry for your loss. These words of advice are very helpful and poignant. Thanks for taking the time to offer them. Best wishes in your own process of grieving your father’s passing. Keith

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  2. Sam, I think the issue with grieving is getting stuck. I did for a number of years when my mom passed. It shows that each process of grieving even in the same person, can be so different. I am so sorry about the passing of your father. I got stuck when my mom passed. With my dad, I moved more quickly, but I find I have started over several times. In a way it is like my parents personalities. My dad was a plodder. He never gave up, yet my mom never repeated things.

    I marvel at how much impact they have and always will have on me. Even in how I deal with there deaths.

    rick

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  3. This really helpful Sam .Thank You 🙏

    I threw my back out Friday morning . Leaning to pick a piece of paper off the floor while sitting on my bed I crumpled . My goodness. I didn’t realise how well I’ve actually been , in what I’ve considered a particularly bad arthritis year untill this moment . Just now the offending spot Clunk!d back into place . I have never been so relieved to have a bad noise from my damaged spine. I hope it holds together, and , I can get in to see my doc on the other side of town to get a new epc for my Osteopath who I’ve not been to in a year. I have a sitting exercise bike , also abandoned in the last year and after being horrified at discovering my leg muscles couldn’t compensate for the injury, I started doing a few turns on it thru the day. It was there I got this Morning Clunk!

    I’d been in a bad headspace since my love walked out a year and a half ago…. Got better moved on , then I sunk again ….

    Your 5G’s encapsulate much of these waves I’ve been experiencing….particularly after this back scare and another most unhelpful appointment at the local doctor , in hobbling distance from my home .

    Thank You for sharing your wisdom knowledge and experience.

    Please accept My condolences on the passing of Your Dad 💮🌻

    Lisa Michelle

    fellow Swell Gal

    On Sat., 29 May 2021, 5:11 pm My Medical Musings, wrote:

    > Sam posted: ” My beautiful Dad passed away 8 weeks ago. The initial weeks > after his passing saw me encompassed in raw grief. The kind of grief > constantly creeping up on you, and opening the flood gate of tears, when > you least expected it. The kind of gr” >

    Like

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