Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Legally Blonde and the Seven Stages of Grief

I've been watching too much TV. I seem incapable of doing much. Not only has my marriage ended, but my job has ended and I am going back to school and trying to figure out how on earth I will support my girls and myself while attempting to pursue a new life. I'm either highly over-qualified or under-qualified for any job that would work with school. I have been working out - so that's a plus - but I can't seem to do much beyond that. I had these fabulous "reorganize the house" plans that have merely limped along.

I realized that I had gone completely nuts when I started being inspired by Elle Woods in Legally Blonde and Queen Latifah in Last Holiday. I had been sucked into the 2 star movie dark side. Pretty soon I will be practicing the bend and snap. Step away from the remote.

On that note, earlier this week, while at the pediatrician with Kristen, I suddenly burst into tears. Okay - maybe not all that suddenly - but I had absolutely no control over the tears. Biting my cheek, clenching my fists, looking at the luck. The doctor was asking Kristen how she's coping with the divorce. She said, "Things are better. There's no tension at home anymore." And waterworks commence. I felt awful that she and her sister have had to go through so much and I just started to cry. What a lovely moment for Kristen.

I realized that I needed to do a little reading, a little research, if you will, on going nuts through divorce. Maybe, just maybe, Elle Woods won't have all the answers. So, I googled "stages of grief divorce." 270,000 results popped up. I picked the one that started with "Learn how to heal..." I clicked and began to read. (It's on

  1. Shock or disbelief. (Been there done that.)

  2. Denial (If I change what I want.....did that 18 months ago.)

  3. Anger (Brief moments but more sadness, really)

  4. Bargaining (I may have skipped this one.....maybe I took care of it with number 2.)

  5. Guilt (Definitely been going through this one....especially when it comes to the kids.)

  6. Depression (Welcome to my home.)

  7. Acceptance and Hope (I'm sorry what....there's hope?)

One of the first things to stand out was "Realize that it's okay to have different feelings." (I don't think they meant feeling like all chick flicks are speaking directly to you.) "It's normal to feel sad, angry, exhausted, frustrated and confused. (check, check, check, check and check.) "You may feel anxious about the future. (Giant check.) "Give yourself permission to function at a less than optimal level for a time." (HOORAY! I have permission!) "Treat yourself like you have the flu." (Does this mean I can lay in bed and have people bring me soup?) "Try not to make any major decisions or changes for awhile." (Oops.) "Don't fight your feelings." (Aha.)

So I have decided to not fight my feelings. If I have plans with you think how exciting this will be! Will she be fun and happy and then completely dissolve? Will she be lackluster and tired, followed my maniacal laughter? Who knows! You just get to sit back and watch the healing. The idea is that if I allow myself to feel and deal with this bombardment of feelings, I may be able to move on and reach that Utopian seventh stage of acceptance and....drum roll please, even hope. If that doesn't work I can always look for words of wisdom from Legally Blonde 2.


michelle said...

Well at least you haven't lost your sense of humor!

I think that giving yourself permission to function at less than optimal level for a time is good advice. I can only imagine the range of feelings you are experiencing the way they can cycle somewhat unexpectedly. Yep, giving yourself a break sounds like a good plan.

Jill said...

Surely there is a support group you can join (watch About A Boy) to help you through this. Also, are you able to see your therapist?

I can't help but feel full of hope and excitement for this new stage of your life. You have suffered for so long, and though there is much grieving to be done there is only greatness ahead!

Lisa Olivier Sorenson said...

Oh my goodness! Your writing is so funny, I feel all irreverent and confused that I am so entertained by your descriptions. My heart goes out to you, of course you are in my prayers, but you sure are entertaining in between! Keep that up! I have survived many situations by choosing laughter when I could have screamed. Love, your sista