I never thought much of this stage of grief. What exactly is bargaining when it comes to grief? The website, grief.com, helped explain this for me.
Here is an excerpt from the website (https://grief.com/the-five-stages-of-grief/) :
“Bargaining: Before a loss, it seems like you will do anything if only your loved one would be spared. “Please God, ” you bargain, “I will never be angry at my wife again if you’ll just let her live.” After a loss, bargaining may take the form of a temporary truce. “What if I devote the rest of my life to helping others. Then can I wake up and realize this has all been a bad dream?” We become lost in a maze of “If only…” or “What if…” statements. We want life returned to what is was; we want our loved one restored. We want to go back in time: find the tumor sooner, recognize the illness more quickly, stop the accident from happening…if only, if only, if only. Guilt is often bargaining’s companion. The “if onlys” cause us to find fault in ourselves and what we “think” we could have done differently. We may even bargain with the pain. We will do anything not to feel the pain of this loss. We remain in the past, trying to negotiate our way out of the hurt. People often think of the stages as lasting weeks or months. They forget that the stages are responses to feelings that can last for minutes or hours as we flip in and out of one and then another. We do not enter and leave each individual stage in a linear fashion. We may feel one, then another and back again to the first one.”
I don’t know how I neglected to acknowledge this stage! Along with sadness, this is the stage I have been in the longest. I continually live in those days before and after the loss of my dad. I often think, ‘what if I would have visited him? Would he still be here?’ The days after my dad died, my family and I continually tried to come up with different scenarios as to why my dad did this. We tried to ‘do anything not to feel the pain of this loss’ and to try to come up with concrete answers. Every day was a different scenario. One day it was the melatonin. After researching it, we were sure that’s what made him do it! He was taking way too much melatonin so that he could sleep, and using it long term. Both those things can cause deep depression. We found the answer! At least for that day. Then we went on to something else. It was the doctor’s fault! My dad called him on Christmas Eve to ask him how to relieve his hot flashes and a couple other symptoms. It certainly wasn’t the doctors fault. I actually called him to tell him the news and he really was so sweet and concerned. In no way would the doctor think my dad was depressed, concerning some of the ‘annoying’ side effects my dad was having. My dad certainly didn’t tell the doctor he was depressed. The next scenario was his impulsiveness and impatience. The day after that it was the hormone shots, making him depressed. We tried SO hard to find something that made sense to this tragic ending.
There will never be a solid answer. Could it have been from the hormone shots? Maybe. The extra natural supplements he took? That possibly could have made him depressed. What we realized, there is no one thing that could have made him do this. There’s not one answer to his ‘why’. His OCD tendencies he developed in the end. Impatience, impulsiveness, hormone shots, too much melatonin, etc. We will never know the exact answer.
The hardest part that I am experiencing is the why. I still can’t believe he left my mom like that. My dad took care of the house, cars, yard, everything. My mom had no idea how to turn the sprinklers off, or where to take the car for an oil change! My dad was also very adamant about being in charge of those things, not wanting anyone else to handle it.
I think we came to the conclusion that he had not planned this. He had a very good day, running errands, the day before he took his life. He even mailed a book that day for my husband. Yes, he may have been teetering on the the edge of suicide. But definitely not planned. I think if it was, he would have set things up in advance. Have a plan for my mom to be taken care of. He would have written a note. Or maybe not! All I know is that my dad loved us so very much, and would have never wanted us to be left to pick up all the pieces of this tragic loss.
I love what the author said about stages (in the quote above), the grief stages are never one clear beginning and end of each stage. I experience them out of order, and different ones each day even. Some say that there is an order of grief. I have to say, in my situation, there really isn’t.
I often think of how losing someone from a tragic accident and suicide have a lot of similarities involving the grief after the loss. Both are both shocking, unreal, and devastating. But to think that my dad made this decision himself. That’s what truly hurts. He would still be here if he didn’t make that ONE devastating, tragic decision. Now I am not saying one loss is worse than the other. Each has their lasting, devastating effects. I truly feel for those that have grieved loved ones. Children, spouses, family, friends. Grief of a loved one is so hard, no matter how, when, or why it happens. One thing I know, we have to think of the eternal perspective. We will see our loved ones again. Without a doubt. We need to hold on tight to this roller coaster of life, experiencing the many highs and lows it brings.