Read through that again, but more carefully. Although I never saw grief as a task to complete, the words that are spoken are true.
Absorption. Adjustment. Acceptance. Words not typically associated with grief and losing someone. But all are something that is needed.
Absorption. The entire occupation of the mind. Assimilation. Incorporation. Preoccupation. Engrossment. The process or action by which one thing absorbs or is absorbed by another. The Latin origin word for Absorb is Absorbere which means “to swallow up.”
Think about that. We are swallowed up by our grief right after someone dies. It consumes our time, our thoughts, our feelings. We are preoccupied and engrossed in the details of what happened and the fact that they are no longer on earth with us.
Adjustment. The process of adapting or becoming used to a new situation. A modification, fluctuation, or correction. A correction or modification to reflect actual conditions. The process of modifying one’s behavior in changed circumstances or an altered environment in order to fulfill psychological, physiological, and social needs.
An adjustment is a process. Something changes, which require changes to be made. Process is key word. It doesn’t happen overnight, but over time.
Acceptance. Acknowledgement. Recognition. The fact of accepting a difficult or unpleasant situation.
Acceptance is a hard one. Most people want to define this as something that you confirm happened and are okay with. That is not true. It is acknowledgement. It is recognition. It is simply just saying “Yes, this did happen.”
The three “A” words work together, side by side, all throughout your grief journey. And yes, it is a journey. It is not something you feel or do for a moment in time, or until a certain point. It is something you walk, day in, and day out. Some days better than others, but still a part of who you are. That is the Absorption part. You incorporate that loss into your life, and you adjust. (Adjustment) There will be little ways you adjust and big ways. And you are always finding ways that you are adjusting. This never stops.
The final “A”, Acceptance, is circular. You would think that it would be linear. That the only time you need to accept your grief is the first time you encounter it. True, at first, you need to acknowledge the loss of someone when they die. That one’s a given. But I’m talking about all the little ways we need to acknowledge that person’s presence is missed and recognize where there is a hole in our life. There are so many little ways that this one shows up. All the “little firsts” you encounter as you do life, and adjust without that person.
Grief ends up becoming part of you, but not the entirety of you. Like it says in the quote above, it is an element of who you are, an alteration of your being. When we loose someone we love, we have a new way of seeing life. We know what life was like with them, and now what life is like without them. We should use that new life view, the one we gain through our loss, to help us be a new self, a better one. One that they would be proud of. Be someone who is like the one you loved and lost, not to try to replace them, that could never happen, but to remind the world of the beautiful person and presence that was lost.