Grief Process

The Process of Grief… Popcorn; Potatoes; & Pomegranates

Wes M. Bynum, Bereavement Coordinator

 The Process of Grief is like:           Living the life of a bag of micro-wave popcorn.

 Life Before the “Situation”…

You’re in the box. You’re on the shelf minding your own business.  You’re surrounded by other boxes and containers of all shapes and sizes.  Each one is different, unique both outside and inside.  This is normal existence.  This is “shelf Life”.  But then…

A Diagnosis is given...Now you’ve got a “Situation”…

You are pulled off the shelf by a force beyond your control.  Your box is opened.  The clear bag that seals and protects you from exposure is ripped open and pulled off and thrown away.

The Experience of Loss…The “Situation”…

You are tossed into the micro-wave.  You are all alone.  The door is shut.  Before you have time to think or adjust to this new place, a blinding light comes on.  You begin to feel yourself going around and around and around again.  An unfamiliar, unsettling, unrelenting noise begins to interrupt the silence.  Unseen waves of emotional intensity cause you to feel on the inside like you’ve never felt on the inside before.  Just when you begin to believe that you may find a way to deal with all these new things, things begin to change again.  The popping begins.  One kernel at a time.  One moment, one day, one feeling, one event, at a time.  You are going through a process that will leave you forever different.  That which was one way one day, will be a new way.   However, there comes a time when the popping begins to slow down.  The spinning stops, the light dims, the door is opened and the outside atmosphere mixes with that of the inside of the micro-wave.

 After the Loss… The result of “The Situation”…

Out of the micro-wave you go.  Freedom!  Deliverance!  Relief at last!  But, there is still some heat to deal with.  There is some steam that must be released as you come out of the situation.  You must be handled gingerly and with respect because of where you’ve been and what you’ve been through.  Some settling must occur on the inside of the bag.  There are still some things in there that are as they were, but for the most part you are not the same as you were before the process.  Are you better?  That depends.  If you allow the bag to be opened and share with others what is on the inside, it could prove to be very beneficial to others who may be experiencing The Process of Grief. 

Remember…

The process begins at different times, for different people, for different reasons. No two “bags” are the same.

The length of the process is determined by a variety of factors:  The power setting of the micro-wave; how old the micro-wave is; how many times the micro-wave has been used and what kind of maintenance it has known; how often has the door been opened during the process; and how many buttons have been pushed along the way.

It is not unusual to keep popping for a while even though the process seems to be over.  It is not unusual to be surprised by an unexpected pop!

The Process of Grief is Like:       Potatoes.

Have you ever tried to boil a pot of potatoes?  No matter what size of pan you select for the process, if you’re not careful and watchful you will run the risk of “boil over”.  A boil over is a messy thing.  This messy thing is almost a sure thing if you put a lid on and keep it on and ignore what’s going on.

Grief will find expression.  With a little care and a little attention a messy boil over may be averted.  It is when we try to deny our feelings and keep emotions in check and we try to hold back our tears, that we run the risk of making a mess.

It’s OK to boil potatoes.  If you do happen to make a mess, wait till the stove cools off, then you can clean things up better, without the worry of being hurt.

The Process of Grief is Like:      Pomegranates.

Pomegranates are a wonderful fruit but you have to be very specific in the way you eat them.  You cannot just pick one up and bite off a big hunk and enjoy the result.  They have to peeled open and eaten one seed at a time.

Grieving the loss of someone you love has to be done little bit by little bit.  Just like eating the pomegranate, the value is in the process.  It may take a while but the end result will be more satisfying.