In this second part we’ll look at the In-Between stage. For caregivers it is the space between what was and what will be. Suzanne Braun Levine calls this space the Fertile Void and describes it as, “the long, slow, deep breath -the gathering in of strength - that precedes a daring leap into the unknown.”
It's a dilemma we all have as the people we love age, move out of their homes and into ours (or care homes) and eventually die. On the one hand, those family treasures are imbued with a ton of meaning. On the other, they're just things, and keeping a clock or a table or even my stepfather's collection of science and match textbooks doesn't make my memories any stronger, just as donating or selling these things won't diminish them.
Humor has long been my personal "coping mechanism," and I often tell people that sarcasm is my second language, but I come by this honestly. Everyone in my family, both blood and chosen, responds with witty comebacks or painful puns, or just bad jokes whenever things are getting tense. Even my husband knows that the best way to shake me out of a gloomy mood is to make me laugh, and I do the same for him.
An image that comes to mind when I think about the grief experience is that of a nautilus. If you visualize a nautilus or look it up, you will see that each spiral is progressively higher and above as it goes around. This is probably the best analogy to illustrate why it is normal in a grief journey at any point: to go around and around through anger, frustration, blame, resentment, disapproval, laughter, joy, hope, motivation, stagnation, and more.
Grief and loss come in many forms throughout our lives. Is it the life that we once had planned that never worked out?
Grief can paralyze you if you let it so don’t be afraid to reach out for help or talk to someone that can understand without judgment.