Goofiness: a stage of mourning

In the 1970’s, Elizabeth Kubler-Ross’ Five Stages of Grief was vastly popular and much preached.   We had the idea that one worked through these stages–denial, anger, bargaining, and  depression–in that order until finally arriving at acceptance, the final stage.   However, Dr. Kubler-Ross hadn’t meant that these five stages made up the entire task of grief, that one could wrap up  mourning in a neat little package and would recover if one followed her teaching exactly.   No, she stated that these were five of the stages of grieving but not all of them.  She also stated some people didn’t go through all of these and, if they do,  probably not in a set order.  

After George’s death, I was drowning in denial but don’t remember bargaining.   If I did experience anger, it was transient and certainly not against George for leaving me.   And I also experienced stages she didn’t include, the first of those being goofiness.  

My favorite color is yellow, the color of sunshine and flowers and, for me, healing and joy.    When my friend Ellen sends me a gift or flowers, she always chooses yellow.  I adored my yellow car.  I felt positive  driving it and could always find it in a parking lot which cut down on stress.   Although it’s not a good color on me, yellow tops and shirts fill the closet because they cheer me up.  Yes, I love yellow.  Always have.

George’s choices of colors were, well, boring to me.  He liked dark green, gray-blue, beige and other earth tones.  When I wanted to buy a light-colored sofa, he reminded me what three cocker spaniels would do to that.  He was right.  Nonetheless, after he died, I needed yellow.  Yes, needed yellow!  Yearned for it, craved the warmth of my favorite color.  I bought two yellow throws on-line, picked up two floral pillows to replace the matching dark green pillows of the love seat, pulled out the yellow towels to replace the blue.   Then I bought bright art.   I replaced a small picture in the guest bathroom with a map of the United States in yellow and orange and bright primary colors.  I bought a 3 x 3 hanging with a yellow background.  

Then, after a  week,  I didn’t need it anymore.  I feel slightly embarrassed about that map now.  It would look great in the room of a five-year-old.  I don’t know what the saying  on that wall hanging is because I never put it.  It now lives in a closet. 

But I needed to do this.  For a few days, I needed to be weird and goofy and crazy.   The yellow throws got me through those days of intense pain, lifted my spirits in the way dark green didn’t. 

For me, goofiness was definitely a stage in healing.  I haven’t arrived at complete acceptance but am moving in that direction.  I’ve gone through gone-ness, curiosity, and shame as well and plan to share them with you.  The point of this blog is that we all grieve in different ways.

Would you share how you’ve handled grief?  Have you felt goofy at any time during the process?

7 thoughts on “Goofiness: a stage of mourning

  1. Jane, what poignant thoughts on grief, and how we deal (and don’t deal with it). And I don’t think splashing your life with bright blotches of yellow is goofy–I think it’s lovely, and far better than drinking yourself into real trouble, which is what I did (and Yellow is far healthier). Happily, I’ve moved past that stage, and am onto spending alot of time outside with my dog and cat and drinking in all of God’s incredible gifts–really noticing the world, my life and appreciating it. I wish I’d known about your Yellow Therapy. Would have saved me a lot of time, money and hardship on my body :)

    1. Your therapy might be something different, Kit. Orange? Green? After George’s death,the pain was so great I understood how people could self medicate with booze but booze gives me a migraine so I wasn’t tempted. Also, I’m diabetic and would rather have chocolate. Glad you’ve move past that. I love you. Many hugs.

  2. I don’t think that craving the healing color of yellow is goofy, Jane. Yellow is the color of happiness and sunshine and daffodils. When one suffers a shock like you did, it totally makes sense that you would crave a bit of happiness.

    Now, trying to get into a stranger’s car – THAT’s goofy! :)

    1. I think I crave sunshine, Robin What you say makes sense. However, I got in the car because I have no brain, not complete goofiness.

  3. Outstanding writing and sharing. I have sent some of your writings along to mutual friends of the past. Take care

  4. Our plans after first retiring were to plan, build, and share a house with my mother-in-law. Don’t groan–this was a good thing, as I had always had a very special relationship with her. When she died before the house was ready, I went through a period of grief unlike anything else I had done before. I went on a cookie-making binge! For weeks, I made multiple batches of cookies, sometimes hundreds in a day. I supplied them to everyone in the neighborhood and church There was no rhyme or reason to this. Cooking making was not something that I normally did. Eventually, I stopped. Guess it was how I handled losing Noni.

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