I started this post over a year ago, then abandoned it and though perhaps its high time I actually finished it.
You may recall I lost my uncle to cancer in October 2017 and felt I should write down the phases of dealing with the death
Stage 0 — Normality
This is the normal day-to-day life no indication of any problems in the future
Stage 1 — Terminal
This is where you or your loved one is diagnosed with an illness that cannot (normally) be recovered from.
Stage 2 — Death & Disbelief
Immediately after death, this starts. You run through a period of “this can’t be happening”, “this has got to be a dream” and keep wanting to wake up from the nightmare, even though it isn’t one.
Stage 3 — Guilt & Denial
After you’ve gotten past the “this can’t be happening”, you get to “this isn’t happening” — you don’t want to believe this is true and refuse to believe this is true. Also, you start second-guessing yourself thinking “did I do everything I could to save them?” “could I have done something differently?” “could they still be alive had I picked up on that symptom just a day earlier?”
This stage lasts the longest, and to some, the guilt consumes their lives
Stage 4 — Acceptance
The hardest stage to reach is acceptance. You accept the death and move on. Some keep a piece of the loved one with them — a piece of jewellery, a photo, a locket, a favourite song — something that lets them remember them going forward or when they want the feeling of warm, loving memories.
Where am I on this list? Stage 4. I have photos of my uncle in Google Photos I can look back on whenever I want to remember him. I have pictures of him playing with my cousin’s children; I have fond memories of playing poker with him (and me losing :-) ); I have memories of having drinks with him — he was an alchoholic, but really was loose when drinking. I remember that I also didn’t know him as well as I thought I did. His drinking buddy took the pedestal at his funeral and told about how he donated food from his KFC-style shop to people at the pub.
I really did not know my uncle as well as I thought I did.
This one’s for you, Uncle.