Clearing the decks…

It seems a strange time of year to be spring cleaning and yet that’s exactly what I’ve found myself doing. Pulling out old clothes and books to go to the charity shop, getting right into nooks and crannies to clean…

There’s been a sense of wanting to clear the decks ready to make way for something new. I’ve wondered how that links with setting up Dust2Dust but of course it makes sense.

Earlier in the year I explored my grief in detail for the first time, really drilled down into it. It was a difficult period, not only in relieving some of the experiences which have impacted upon me but in trying to understand them. Finally I realised I couldn’t. Certainly not in a cognitive, ‘now this makes sense’ sort of a way. But in the doing of that work I reached a different conclusion – acceptance.

Acceptance of death, acceptance of loss, acceptance of all the pain… That reminds me of Elizabeth Kubler-Ross’s important but misinterpreted stages of grief * with acceptance as the final stage of the journey after denial, anger, bargaining and depression.

But for me the destination is different. I’m not stopping there. Something else is happening. As I’ve been sorting and tidying I’ve realised what. I’m preparing – literally getting my house in order ready to receive in the new.

Because in the acceptance and processing of my grief, I’ve changed. I feel renewed and reinvigorated, ready for action – motivated by the loneliness and struggle I faced to hopefully make it a little easier for others.

I didn’t feel able to talk about my grief and so it stayed inside, locked away. I know there are a lot of others out there who feel the same way. Now I want to talk – in part because I want to honour my personal journey and those that I’ve lost. But also because in doing so, I hope I’ll be able to unlock some of the doors that prevent other people from talking too.

I wonder how many people reading this will resonate with that? If you do, read on. Hopefully you will find here plenty of inspirations and resources for your own journey so that together we might clear the path for a new way of being that allows for more openness and hopefully more acceptance.

* * *

* Elisabeth Kübler-Ross formulated her five stage model of dying after listening to terminally ill patients talk about coming to the end of their life. These testimonies formed the basis of her 1969 book On Death and Dying. She went on to adapt the model for those who have been bereaved, as her 2005 book On Grief and Grieving sets out.

The five stage model provides a helpful tool for illustrating some of the emotions related to loss but can be unhelpful if seen as a rigid step by step process. Unfortunately, the model has often been misinterpreted in this way although that was never her intention. Whatever the model can teach us, perhaps Kübler-Ross’s most important lesson was that we listen to the thoughts and feelings of those who have come close to death – ourselves included.

“Live, so you do not have to look back and say: “God, how I have wasted my life.”

Elisabeth Kübler-Ross Death: The Final Stage of Growth, 1975

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