The 792 stages of grief


I have tried a million ways to start this post.
I couldn’t figure out why it was so hard. What point was I tying to get across with this one?
I’ve written this whole post twice and hated them both. I started it from different directions: With a joke! With a metaphor about life being like a bike and falling off it and getting skinned knees.
Every post before this has been easy. It’s easy to laugh at yourself once you have observed what you’ve already gone through, and you now understand that you can get through it. It’s easy to laugh about getting my heart-broken, and getting abandoned by a bike rider in Vietnam. It’s easy to give some advise on being in a shitty relationship.
It’s not so easy to write about getting through losing someone you love when I am still in the middle of processing all the feelings that come with that. So this one might be short.

It is a Tuesday night, I am sitting at my computer with tears and boogers just pouring out of my face. The truth is I Just laid on my bed in the fetal position for half an hour and cried into a jumper my dad used to wear. This happens to me about once every 2 weeks. The amount of time that lapses between these emotional breakdowns are getting further and further apart.

When I first got back to Melbourne I wanted to grieve the ‘right’ way. I Googled the 5 steps of grief, hoping that I could somehow work my way through them in an orderly fashion and get to the end and then stop and turn around and wave goodbye to the whole experience. I could then commence my life as normal.
That’s not what happens when you lose someone though. Quiet frankly, I now kind of reject the whole idea of the grieving process in its entirety. Yes, now I have accepted that once every few weeks I will ruin my nice clean sheets with a fresh layer of tears and snot. I have also accepted that this might continue to happen for a long time. I was wrong to think that I could put a time frame on something like this.

Thinking of grief in steps is a nice guide. A kind of snapshot into the process your brain goes through, but it is not a linear process. Not even a tiny bit.
It is like a big, twisted rollercoaster that loops and dips and throws you around. No two rollercoasters are the same either. People handle these experiences in so many different ways. One thing I have learnt to do though is just buckle up willingly, get on the ride and go through it.
Man I love metaphors.

So death is rough. Some days I will be able to think about my dad and I can be thankful for all he gave me, the jokes we shared, all the times he gave me the finger when I was trying to say something serious to him. Other days and I can’t even think of his face without feeling entirely overwhelmed.
Death, for me, has also created so much clarity on life. Get ready for the cliché:
Life is incredibly short. I’m literally cringing writing that, but my goodness it is.
It is also unbiased. Anything can happen, to anyone. Regardless of your situation. At first this thought made me really unhappy. Was life just going to keep throwing these things at me? Was this my reality?
After some time though I realised that no, I am not the centre of the universe, this was not happening to me because I yelled at that guy in my car one time, or because I stopped being friends with that person, or because I stole that lip gloss when I was 15. My dad dying was not something to feel sorry for myself about. That is also the last thing he would have wanted, and I hear his voice in my head telling me to get up every time I seem to fall down.
It was happening because it is the one thing in life that we are all guaranteed.
Now that grim, and also terrifying fact, might scare the shit out of you, but it should really be a reason for us all to be a little bit happier every day. Honestly.

We aren’t here forever. The people you love aren’t here forever. You can’t delude yourself to thinking that they are. Now I’m not saying you need to walk around every day waiting for the sky to fall, because that’s not the point of life, but I mean: If you want to do something, Do it. If you want to tell someone something, say it. You want to quit your job and move overseas? Man oh man you should do that to.
Don’t be mad at yourself for being sad. Cry in public if you need to. Don’t answer your phone for a day.
Don’t be mad at yourself for being happy either. Life is allowed to be okay, and you’re allowed to enjoy it even if it feels like the worst year of your life.

My one rule though: Don’t do anything that is going to hurt anyone else.
We have very little control over so many things. The one thing we can control besides how we choose to take up our time, is how we treat others.
I slip up. I yell at people for walking too slow on the footpath sometimes, but most of the time I remind myself that everyone goes through shit, and everyone deserves to be treated kindly. We all get spun around in the mess of things and everyone has stuff that they are dealing with every day.
As Charles Bukowski said: ‘It’s all about how well you walk through the fire’.

I want to leave with this: Behind all the money, behind all of the friends and relationships and followers and fancy cars and career progression and the happiness you think everyone else is experiencing, we are all just humans.
It’s really easy to compare yourself to other people, especially in an age where it feels like every person is some hot, confident beast with an Instagram account that travels 8 months out of every year.
We breath and we think and we are all just as confused as each other, don’t ever be fooled to think otherwise.
So give yourself a pat on the back.
Right now, you’re here and you’re doing a really stupidly good job.

I hope this post made sense.
If you don’t agree with the things I have said then that is 100% okay.

Thus commences the life lessons with Hana.

Till next time.


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