denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance
If you have experienced grief, you know that those aren't stages, but are rather part of an emotional menu. You're limited, pretty much, to this menu for a short while following the loss, but gradually your choices broaden.
Phew! It's a relief when you begin to feel the full range of emotions again. What nobody warned me about is that those five troublemakers I listed above don't really go away. They just creep back into the shadows, coming out less and less frequently as time passes. From the Silver-Lining Camp comes this truth: That loss has shaped your life, but now you are free to go out and (as they say) make the best of it. Of the rest of it.
Thank God. I don't need my Silver Lining peeps to tell me how great I have it now. I love my life, and I am aware of that daily. I accept my divorce, five years ago this summer, as a rocky place I steered around, a detour I'm glad I took. Does that mean I'm never sad about it? never want to act like it never happened? Does that mean I'm never angry? Nope.
Many types of life changes, like natural disasters or the death of someone close to you, come without a perpetrator, no bad guy for miles around. You can bargain with God, but to whom goes the anger? Hmmmm. Lemme see. No one to blame. But the anger doesn't go away, and no one tells you that it should. No one asks you to forgive, immediately, forever, and without hesitation, this person who hurt you. No one asks you to make nice with the phantom "he" or "she" that destroyed your house, or took your family member away forever.
So, please, when a friend or family member is angry (and less-than-hospitable) sometimes with the person who caused so much grief, please be mindful. Divorce involves loss on a grand scale: loss of the tangible and the intangible. We can move on, we can have better lives, but the loss still happened. Sometimes we will feel angry, and we have a legitimate target for our anger, so just be mindful and wait for it to pass.
Thanks for listening,