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I know why people turn to alcohol in times of grief.
On Sunday I got the news that an ex-boyfriend of mine had passed away.
As friends and family reached out to me upon hearing about his death, I repeated each time that “I’m fine.”
Which I really felt I was– just fine.
After all, this relationship had ended over ten years ago. I hadn’t spoken to him in probably five years.
So it’s not like we were still close, by any means. Not at all.
He would be practically a stranger to me if I saw him on the street.
Or so I thought.
Because when I saw the obituary on Tuesday, his picture surprised me. He looked like the same old person.
Looking back, I think I was in shock.
Elizabeth Kübler-Ross says that the first stage of grief is denial. Boom.
I was so in shock that it didn’t really hit me that he was gone, like really gone, until this morning.
The second stage of grieving is anger, which I definitely felt towards him. He was smart, charming, funny…how was it fair that he was now gone?
Why couldn’t he have made a different choice that would have kept him alive?
Next up for me was bargaining.
Why didn’t I reach out to him over the years?
Should I have stayed friends with him?
And now I am feeling depression, the fourth stage. Sadness for the person I remember and sadness for the person he will never become.
What I really wanted to do when I was grieving was sit down, pour myself a big glass of red, and drink it down.
Alcohol is a common salve when someone dies. Because it numbs the pain.
Because I didn’t want to give up right before the end of this experiment, I did not pour that glass of wine.
Instead, I sat with my sadness and felt it.
According to Kübler-Ross, the final stage of grief is acceptance.
But I’m not sure that will ever come…
Rest in peace, my friend.