I had the misfortune today to wake up and discover my Honda Civic had been stolen. The Civic has been with my husband and I for several years. It has only been within the past few months that we had purchased a second car.
It was a beautiful Sunday morning, my day to sleep in. I was snug under the covers, faintly listening to Scott get ready to leave for the day. I heard the door close. I sleep well and it is easy for me to fall to sleep. Ten minutes pass I wake to Scott standing next to the bed telling me the car is missing. Ugh!!
Ugh!! What a way to start the morning.
I was reflecting in the middle of the day how the loss of the Honda, is the perfect illustration of the stages of grief. Grief is not exclusive to the loss of a loved one, a friend or a family pet. We experience grief on a day to day basis. When the loss is a minor material object (say a cup of coffee spilt on the sidewalk) we move through the stages fairly rapidly. The larger the loss, the deeper one feels the emotions.
So what are the stages of grief? Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptace.
Denial: After finally hearing what Scott was saying, I pulled on some clothes, made my way to the street where the car was parked last night. I took a walk around the block to verify with my own eyes it was missing. Maybe it mysteriously made its way to a different block. After triple checking, yep, it was definitely not there. Crap! Did this really happen? Denial.
Bargaining: The early morning was spent with the police, hearing the different scenarios, the probabilities of them finding the car, on the phone with the insurance. Afterwards I called a friend. I was reflecting with my friend under which conditions I would want the Honda back. If it was just a joyride around the neighborhood, left in good condition? Ugh what if other things were happening in it?
I came up with two scenarios which were acceptable. I liked the joyride idea with the car left maybe within 10 blocks of my place, the car found in pristine condition. Or the car is forever lost, my insurance covers enough to purchase a car of equal value. Some people go with prayers for bargaining. If only the car was found then I would give up… I like to plot out acceptable scenarios that I would like to experience. The scenarios are more my style. Still a form of bargaining.
Anger: Desperately out of vegetables, I needed to make a trip to the farmers market today. The full time I was the road, on my way to Jack London Square, my eyes were scanning all the white vehicles on the road. Perhaps I would see my car! (Denial, mixed with bargaining) Irritation and anger built up inside. “Why MY CAR? What did I do? What if I have to buy a new car? I hate buying cars! It took my 6 months last time! Assholes! How dare they steal MY CAR! “ My mind was swirling with thoughts of who possibly took it and what a hassle it was. Anger/Irritation.
Which leads to Depression: I was bummed. I came home and took a nap. I didn’t feel full on depressed, crying or wailing however, my spirits were low. This stinks. Yes it was just a car, an inanimate object. However it was MY CAR. It had survived hurricanes, driven several times across the United States, now gone.
Acceptance: I’m not certain if I’ve made it to the last stage, acceptance, yet. I’m an optimist. There is hope that the car will be found relatively unscathed. When will acceptance come? Maybe when I pick up the rental car for Tuesday? Or maybe when I have to look at cars to purchase? It is hard to know when the moment will come and I can fully accept the car is gone. It’s possible that any action may trigger the whole grieving process all over again. Grief isn’t linear. We experience emotions from one stage to the next. Sometimes it feels like all the emotions are rolled into one ball.
Time moves one. What a day! Where ever my car may be, I hope someone is treating it well.