Grief is a Circular Staircase
I don’t know Deepak Chopra, except that he has simultaneous fame and infamy. I’m sure the man is a decent human being.
And I’m sure he was caught off guard with the question posed in this video here.
I hope he really didn’t mean it when he answered said question with this piece of crap:
“You must go through the grieving process … if you remember all the joy you got out of (the relationship you had with your deceased spouse) and you grieve and you heal your body at the same time, then within six months (grief) will start to dissipate, and within one year you will be back to your baseline status. We know this from psychological studies.”
When he talks about “the grieving process”, I’m not sure what he means; furthermore, I’m not sure HE knows what he means. Either way, when he starts talking about a time frame for grief “dissipating” and regaining your “baseline status”, I STRONGLY disagree with Mr. Chopra.
There is no time frame. And there is no exact “grief process.” There are not scientific stages that the psychological community agrees upon (there’s a number of different models of grief work, each entirely or slightly different than the next). Even though the psychological community is greatly indebted to Kübler-Ross, there’s a tendency in pop psychology to think that grief follows in linear lock-step with the five stages of grief. Some even attach a timeline to this process. And they’re wrong.
Here a poem that communicates the more “circular staircase” of grief.
The night I lost you
Someone pointed me towards
The Five Stages of Grief.
Go that way, they said,
It’s easy, like learning to climb
Stairs after the amputation.
And so I climbed.
Denial was first.
I sat down at breakfast
Carefully setting the table
For two. I passed you the toast –
You sat there. I passed
you the paper – you hid
Anger seemed more familiar.
I burned the toast, snatched
The paper and read the headlines myself.
But they mentioned your departure,
And so I moved on to
Bargaining. What could I exchange
For you? The silence
After storms? My typing fingers?
Before I could decide, Depression
Came puffing up, a poor relation
Its suitcase tied together
With string. In the suitcase
Were bandages for the eyes
And bottles of sleep. I slid
All the way down the stairs
And all the time Hope
Flashed on and off
In defective neon.
Hope was a signpost pointing
Straight in the air.
Hope was my uncle’s middle name,
He died of it.
After a year I am still climbing,
Though my feet slip
On your stone face.
The treeline has long since disappeared;
Green is a color
I have forgotten.
But now I see what I am climbing
Written in capital letters,
A special headline:
Its name is in lights.
I struggle on,
Waving and shouting.
Below, my whole life spreads its surf,
All the landscapes I’ve ever known
Or dreamed of. Below
A fish jumps: the pulse
In your neck.
Acceptance. I finally reach it.
But something is wrong.
Grief is a circular staircase.
I have lost you.