The Spiral of Grief

by Andrea Gregg, Refuge Center Intern

“For in grief nothing “stays put.” One keeps on emerging from a phase, but it always recurs. Round and round. Everything repeats. Am I going in circles, or dare I hope I am on a spiral?
But if a spiral, am I going up or down it?”― C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed

spiral staircaseGrief is an experience like none other. Whether you are coping with the loss of a loved one, a dream, an era of your life or any other kind of loss the process of grief can be a long and complicated journey. As we approach the holiday season, the process can begin to feel even more daunting. As families begin to re-connect and gather around one another, the absence of a loved one can become more pronounced. The empty chair can now seem to have a spotlight over it. A time of joy and love can begin to feel more like a time of loneliness and despair. Regardless of how long it has been since the loss occurred, you may find yourself feeling as heartbroken as the day it happened. For many, this can be a confusing, frustrating, and even devastating process. Perhaps you feel as though you are going around in circles or spiraling in grief with no idea if you are heading up or down.

Many people are familiar with the “stages of grief”: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. However, most people think of these stages in a linear fashion, as if you go from one to the next until the process is complete. In reality, grief is much more complicated than that, and every person experiences it differently. You may experience each of these stages in the span of a week or a day only to begin again the next day. You may begin by feeling angry or depressed. You may feel as though you’ve come to accept your loss only to wake up the next morning in disbelief again. There are just no rules when it comes to grief. It is a journey with no clear destination. Everyone who goes on this journey tends to take a different route and arrive at a different destination.

At The Refuge Center, we believe that this isn’t a journey that you have to take on your own. Our therapists can walk this difficult road with you and help you make sense of this process. Together, you can find the path and destination that is right for you. Visit us at www.therefugecenter.org or call us at 615.591.5262.