The Art of Living Lost: Stages of Grief as Defined by MOI!

feetThe five stages of grief defined by Elisabeth Kübler-Ros are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.

The TEN stages of grief, as defined by MOI, are shock, energizer bunny, fat, doormat, fatter, cheese-stands-alone, exercise, pissed-off, lost, and, my favorite, JOY. I’ll skip shock to protect the innocent; let’s say that death is shocking no matter how ready you are.

Energizer bunny was one of my favorite stages; I whirled and twirled to get services for the kids and settle Chris’ estate. Fat was a bit of a blessed low point. To everyone who’s reading this BLOG and sent food, THANK YOU! We loved the chicken cutlets, lasagna, brownies, and the brisket. The chocolate-covered strawberries were a work of art, and the letters we received were miraculous! Adults, children, friends, and almost strangers — everyone extended condolences. And sent food. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

I struggled the most during doormat. Can we agree to leave the doormat – at the door? It’s a stage in the process; how could you possibly get fatter without doormat? Enough said.

Fatter, a real low point, this is when all you eat is chocolate and fried chicken. The kids were thrilled with our chocolate covered, drumstick shaped food strategy; I developed a gut. A GUT, I say!

The wine-and-cheese, I mean the cheese-stands-alone stage? Great times! For the first time in a very long time, I was alone, truly alone with myself. In between building my career, birthing babies, and burying my husband, I lost myself. Before Chris died, I worked 60 hours a week. I was also the class mom, the library mom, and the autism mom. I didn’t fry bacon in a pan, but I sautéed escarole and beans, and we loved it!

When Chris died, I had a colossal do-over. That’s not to say I would change my life with Chris, I wouldn’t. It’s just now I had the opportunity – to – do – anything. So I stood alone, looked to the future, and I decide to exercise off the gut. Okay, the butt and bat wings needed to go too. The exercise was my savior until it wasn’t.

Pissed off. Okay, I almost punched a lady in Home Goods; for no reason other than she was standing there in her black spandex pants, all glossy haired and plucked. It pissed me off. What was worse? I was ALSO standing there in black spandex pants, glossy hair, and plucked. Grief stinks because there is no explanation, it just comes, and it goes.

Lost is where you found me. Lost, yet finding JOY in almost everything I do!
Wednesday marked the third anniversary of my husbands’ death. If you knew him and loved him, close your eyes and take a deep breath. Then laugh your way through my steps.

Chris, you were the love of my life; I’m currently dating wine and cheese, but I didn’t think you’d mind.

Have a great week,

The Art of Living Lost: Oh Good Grief!


November 19th is National Children’s Grief Awareness Day. In honor of the people who lovingly dedicate their time to support our grieving children, I’m re-posting a BLOG I wrote describing our personal grief experience. 

So, is there such a thing as good grief? Good food? Yes. Good wine? Absolutely! But Good grief, who knew? As parents of triplets, Chris and I were a team, disciplined and organized. Three babies, two parents? No problem. Changing, feeding, dressing, reading, math, history; somehow, we got it done. After Chris died, I wondered how I would adjust to raising kids, managing a home, and running a business. When it came to grief, we just ambled along. I asked the kids questions from the age-appropriate checklists. Are you angry? Are you depressed? Do you understand that Dad is never coming back? No, no, and yes. We were fine. Life went on. So what if I cried in the car every day and I took five-hour naps? We still got up, got dressed, and did homework.

We. Were. Fine.

Wait, back up, if I cried and wanted to sleep for hours on end, what were the kids thinking or feeling? On this matter, I appealed to a higher source: Aunt M, who delicately suggested we try grief counseling. She did the research and provided the contact information; all I needed to do was make the call and schedule an appointment. So, what’s a mom to do? I made the call and scheduled an appointment. A week later, we made the trek to Good Grief. Yes, that’s the name of our grief group – Good Grief. Upon arrival, I noticed the meeting rooms were decorated with loving notes from kids to parents and siblings. Pictures of beautiful mothers, strong fathers, and smiling children lined the walls. My children spoke excitedly about which photo we would add of Chris; I gulped back tears at the overwhelming sense of loss. Even though I was a grieving widow, it was easy and natural to feel Grief for every soul lovingly posted to the wall of remembrance. So while I slyly wiped away tears, my kids fell in love with Good Grief.

A week later, we were cautiously optimistic when we arrived for our first night of support. My kids were assigned to an appropriate age group and shuttled off to hang out or chat about themselves or the person who died. They also had the opportunity to participate in a group activity geared towards encouraging open and safe dialog. And, that’s pretty much all I can say; that’s all I know. You see, there is a significant rule at Good Grief, and that is – what’s said at Good Grief stays at Good Grief. Participation is always optional, and the kids are amazingly kind, understanding, and compassionate.

Maybe there is more to the story – who knows? I can say this; my children always leave Good Grief joyous and happy. They speak excitedly about video games and laugh about music and books. Is it possible that discussing day-to-day things in an environment engineered to discuss peer-grief is therapeutic? Again, who knows? I’m just happy my kids are happy. I read once, “Grief never ends…but it changes. It’s a passage, not a place to stay. Grief is not a sign of weakness, nor a lack of faith. It is the price of love. – Author Unknown”.

For my beautiful kids, Grief is good. It’s a reminder that they can love and that they are very well-loved and, for this, we are grateful.

Have a wonderful week,