As you cycle through grief, the place that feels the “best” is when you get to acceptance – of what is, of what happened, of a loss, of a change, of something unexpected, of heartbreak, of the need to let go, of the new normal, of things never being the same again. “Best” may not be the best way to describe a grief stage, but acceptance seems to be the most manageable and perhaps the most acceptable. Denial can be pretty good too until we realise its denial and not an absence of sorrow or reality. Bargaining can seem like taking action until we realise, we’re trading off for a better/different outcome. Sadness can be overwhelming, but also a place to self-comfort. And if we can get comfortable enough to do anger, it can be momentarily satisfying, but long-term destructive.
At first, it helps to know you’re in the grief process. That the big feelings and endless cycling are part of a process that everyone goes through (in different ways, at different times and at different speeds). To know WTF is going on can be enough. To know: this is grief, it feels like all of these things and it is OK and one day it will be better or different. But the second we get a sweet taste of acceptance we just want to leave the rest behind and stay there. Solid and sure that all is as it should be. Which is true. But if you haven’t honoured all the parts fully, they will come back in unexpected moments, and often misdirected, and they can only be held by pushing them down – with numbness or alcohol or some other distraction or substance that momentarily makes things feel better, but long-term destructive.
Until you are ready to truly grieve what was, you can never accept what is. And until you accept ‘what is’ life is a constant struggle against what was and what can be. Running away from or running towards or both at the same time, without any traction.