Why You May Never Heal
In Kubler-Ross’ model of grief process, she listed five stages of grief:
In this process of grief, Kubler-Ross assumed that throughout the whole grief process, the bereaved should be experiencing what Freud called “decathexis”, which is a removal of emotional energy from the deceased; a detachment. Freud then suggested that during and after “decathexis” we will take those emotional energies and reinvest them into another object or person in a process called “recathexis.” Essentially, we find other people to love … and use them to fill the “love hole” left by the deceased.
The assumption to both Freud and Kubler-Ross’ model is that the end of the grief process (healing, acceptance) is a form of detachment from the deceased.
But, I think they’re wrong.
Anna Lamott writes,
“You will lose someone you can’t live without, and your heart will be badly broken, and the bad news is that you never completely get over the loss of your beloved. But this is also the good news. They live forever in your broken heart that doesn’t seal back up. And you come through. It’s like having a broken leg that never heals perfectly—that still hurts when the weather gets cold, but you learn to dance with the limp.”
Instead of saying that the end of the grief process is detachment and healing, I think we should say that the healthy end of the grief process is adjustment. It’s adjusting to the fact that your loved one is no longer here to share life experiences with you. It’s adjusting to the loss of the future, but there’s never a detachment from the past.
We simply have on-going bonds with the deceased. They will forever be apart of us and instead of trying to “heal” and find “decathexis” (although I don’t think Freud’s idea is categorically wrong), we must learn to adjust and dance with our limp.
Over time, you will learn to adjust to the death of a loved one. A part of you has been lost and you will never find it again, so you must learn to live without it. But, don’t confuse your adjustment for healing. You may never heal.
This from Jandy Nelson over the loss of her sister, Bailey:
“My sister will die over and over again for the rest of my life. Grief is forever. It doesn’t go away; it becomes a part of you, step for step, breath for breath. I will never stop grieving Bailey because I will never stop loving her. That’s just how it is. Grief and love are conjoined, you don’t get one without the other. All I can do is love her, and love the world, emulate her by living with daring and spirit and joy.”
Maybe the reason we never heal is because our love never dies.
Latest posts by Caleb Wilde (see all)
- When Embalming is Beautiful - July 23, 2014
- Do Funeral Homes Charge too Much? 10 Thoughts on the Cost of Funerals - June 18, 2014
- Funeral Director Offers Thoughts on HATE / LIKE Relationship with Corporate Run Funeral Homes - June 10, 2014
You may be interested
Funeral Homes are Struggling to Keep Their Doors OpenRyan Thogmartin - August 13, 2017
This is a topic and conversation that does not get talked about or covered enough. We all want to put the blame on cremation and ignore the fact that many of the issues facing funeral homes aren't because families choose cremation but because of bad business decisions of many funeral directors who don't want to change or accept cremation.
Preneed Funeral Sales AdvisorCDFuneralNews - August 11, 2017
Premier Funeral Solutions is currently seeking a Preneed Funeral Sales Advisor . Premier Funeral Solutions offers tools and methodologies developed to help…
12 Benefits of Social Media Every Funeral Home Needs to KnowRyan Thogmartin - August 10, 2017
Social media is 'marketing.' It's not the new marketing, it's the current state of marketing, and funeral homes and death care companies can no longer afford to ignore it. There are so many reasons why death care companies need to get their heads out of the sand and start engaging on the platforms used by over 68% of all Americans.