Originally Posted by Lynae
I've gone through so many stages of grief over and over again. I'm not really stuck on one particular thing. I just keep repeating them. I've gone through shock, disbelief, guilt, anger toward my brother, anger toward other people, depression, thought a few times that I was coming to some sort of acceptance with it, then started repeating it all over again. It's like a vicious cycle that I'm stuck in. In talking to a friend who lost a brother in high school, I said that I wished I knew when there would be some sort of normalcy back in my life. She told me that eventually things would go back to normal...it would just be a different kind of normal. What she said made sense, though I don't like the sound of it. I want NORMAL back, which I know will never happen.
I lost my wife a little less than 8 months ago and have learned more about the grief process than I care to know about. What you are describing is perfectly normal. The spiral or cycles of the feelings you are describing is textbook.
What thanatologists (counselors with special training in grief) will tell you is that your mind will take something huge like this, and, unable to accept it all at once, will feed it to you in smaller chunks over time. So you will feel like you're getting someplace one day, then you will go all to pieces the next. It's NORMAL.
They will also tell you that the grief response is VERY individual and there is no set amount of time, no particular response ... your grief is your grief and no one else's.
It is common to have friends berate someone deep in grief for not "moving on" and then again if the griever is not particularly demonstrative (like a lot of guys can be) they will be berated for being "cold and unfeeling". Indeed, there is an initial phase of numbness right after the loss that is often mistaken for not caring. The take-away here is that you can't take everyone's well meaning (and sometimes clueless) advice or their sometimes bizarre and fearful responses such as avoiding you or avoiding the topic of your brother, very seriously. People by and large don't know in our culture how to deal with death.
So ... initially, numbness ... then (typically after a month or so) deep mourning, in a sort of spiral ... better / worse / better / worse -- eventually it slows down and you begin to rebuild your life.
What your friend says is wise and accurate. You will get back to normal, but it will be a "new normal". It might take months or even a couple of years, but it will happen. I seem to be getting to a decent "new normal" in the past month or two; when I was evaluated in late Feb I was told that I was at a place a lot of people in my situation can take a couple of years to get to, largely because my wife's death was both expected and a merciful relief -- she sufferred terribly for years. And we had plenty of time to say our goodbyes and to grieve together. You haven't had that opportunity -- it was totally out of left field. So give yourself time. Be patient with yourself. This isn't going to go away overnight.
One of the most helpful things, especially early on, is that you need to talk, talk, talk, about what happened, about your feelings, etc. To the inexperienced listener it seems obsessive, and may also disturb their own equilibrium if they cared about the deceased person also. If you need a place to rant, rave, and vent, or just a place to lurk and see that you are not alone, go here: Grief Healing Discussion Groups
I am sorry for your loss and wish you the best.