“Courage does not always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, I will try again tomorrow.” – Mary Anne Radmacher
Shock And Denial: The First Stage Of Grief
I’ve been finding myself saying this a lot lately, “I will try again tomorrow.” We all have setbacks, and sometimes they come at the most inopportune times.
That’s the thing about life: It’s largely out of our control.
And, like unexpected hail dropping from the sky, life’s storms tend to strike us when we feel least prepared. We think to ourselves, “Why didn’t I park the car in the garage today? I didn’t need the dents or the auto-body repair bill.”
No setback knocks us off our feet more quickly, however, than a sudden loss. It could be an unexpected breakup, a surprise diagnosis, or an unforeseen death. Whatever the loss, it’s likely accompanied by shock and denial. Yet, no matter how strong we think we are, we are never quite prepared.
It’s hard to muster up motivation to do anything after experiencing a flood of sudden grief. To get out of bed in the morning seems overwhelming. It’s difficult to find a reason to care about anything. Our body feels numb and there is a zombie-like affect to our demeanor. Living each day is a matter of survival as life seems to lose its meaning.
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This stage of grief is, in fact, about survival. Numbness is the calm before the storm. Feeling nothing allows us a brief respite before a tsunami of overwhelming feelings rushes in. It can be especially useful when we have tasks to take care of like making doctor appointments, filing important papers, moving, or planning a funeral. If we are experiencing a tidal wave of emotion, it’s almost impossible to get anything done because we are so distracted.
Suggested Read: 4 Comparisons To Explain Your Grief And Loss
Nature instinctively knows that there is only so much one can handle after devastating news. As we become stronger over time, denial gives way to acceptance. Feelings resurface, but now we are ready to face them and begin the healing process.