“Anger is pain’s bodyguard.” If ever there were a more profound provocation of a righteous recognition of sorrow than these words, I don’t know them. Grief researcher, author and clinician, David Kessler who wrote the book, Finding Meaning: The Sixth Stage of Grief, posited these words as an explanation for how anger has its rightful place in grief and mourning in an interview he did for NPR. Not only is that a prophetic line, but it’s a powerful and poetic way of caressing the pain we feel in our hearts and minds when we lose, sometimes repeatedly, our loved ones, our sense of regularity, familiarity and comfort with what we’ve known—including our places of worship, employment, vacation hot spots and relationships.
As a professional caregiver who was trained to know the 5 stages of grief, coined by the late researcher and theorist, Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, I’ve since learned and am starting to accept that those 5 stages—denial, bargaining, anger, depression and acceptance—are in no way linear, nor always adequate for the varied and inexplicable feelings human beings have for the emotional waves, numbness, confusion and even trauma that complicates death. Look at where we are today, in a pandemic, almost 1 year later, and still people continue to grieve. Yet there’s been no public acknowledgement in leadership of this massive, and oftentimes called “unavoidable” grief that has gripped our nation, and our world. If our President cannot tolerate anything other than egotistical strokes, we cannot bequeath him nor anyone else with the responsibility of how we will survive and thrive with grief.
However, at the same time, I need to add here that there is hope for us. I believe that if we can continue to turn to writers, bloggers, coaches, counselors, therapists, ministers and those compassionate podcasters such as the numerous ones that cover grief and trauma, among other mental health topics on NPR’s Life Kit, we will feel less alone in our suffering. The reality is grief isn’t going anywhere, so we’d be better off to live and learn how to be with it. But, not only that, I recommend that those guides and resources be shared among our communities of friends, colleagues and family members, school personnel, and DEI leadership so we can learn how to become emotionally adept in our capacity for living in the discomfort that this pandemic has brought to all of our lives. May we begin to embrace our sadness and learn to accept the uncertainty that life brings with living.
*This blog is about becoming free. It’s a reflection of introspective thoughts and experiences that have crossed miles of self-discovery. I created this blog to inspire others to live life with less self-criticism, judgment and openness to new experiences. May you find that you learn how to live a life by design and on your own terms!*