86: Seven Stages Scrambled

86: Seven Stages Scrambled

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Grieving and Recovery

Seven Stages Scrambled

Those who do not know how to weep with their whole heart don’t know how to laugh either.

~Golda Meir

Some say there are seven stages to grief
Others list eleven or more, how exhausting.
Rule breaker am I,
skipping denial and pushing forward to pain.

Friends try to comfort with words
But they are taking my experience and writing their own on top
Like an artist painting oil over watercolor.

I try the usual remedies
Breaking dishes in the garage and beating pillows
But I still have to sweep up the shards and fluff the lumps out.

I walk outside alone on a summer dawn with dewy grass
Breathing deeply, sighing slowly
The pink-grey sunrise only breaks my heart all over again.

And then one nonspecific day
Not marked on any calendar
I felt my mouth quiver into the first trembling of a smile.

Guilt quickly followed.
How dare I be happy?

Joy persisted like trees that grow on rocky cliffs.

It was somewhere between stage five and seven,
Somewhere between the black dress and the day I donated it to charity.

Acceptance is not the first and last step
Grief has a will and wildness all its own.
But you will find that very last stage
Begins with a tremulous smile.

A smile that unfurls and brings laughter to your soul.

~Susan Jean LaMaire

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