Kubler-Ross proposed that there are 5 stages of loss and grief. When one thinks of loss, one would immediately think about losing someone to death. But what about something else that could impair your normal daily functioning? What about separation, divorce, losing a best friend, etc. In this day and age where everything must have instant gratification, we tend to lose sight of who we treasure most, thus leaving them in the dust as we move forward without realizing it. When you do, that relationship is far too gone to mend it.
Your psyche then proceeds to begin the process of loss. The loss of your best friend, for instance. Many of us have lost someone we have once considered a best friend because of a meaningless tiff, or because of something that you have managed to bottle up for so long, but it is up to its brim, and has now overflowed.
Stage 1: Denial and Isolation
We avoid the person. We avoid places that remind us of the person. We get into our head that whatever we do now to fix it will amount to nothing. What we fail to realize is that we are now in shock. We begin to strap ourselves in for an emotional rollercoaster ride, knowing that we are not allowed to leave until the ride is over. During that ride we tell ourselves that everything is alright, that whatever we are feeling is the norm. Nothing, and no one else matters until we finish said metaphorical ride.
Stage 2: Anger
Once we step off of that rollercoaster car, a new emotion begins to overwhelm us as reality kicks in. What is that feeling brewing up a storm inside of you? Oh hey anger, I haven’t seen you around here for a while. “How dare he or she do this to me?” “I deserve so much better than this”. “What have I done to deserve this misfortune?”
Now I will direct this anger outward. You’re in my vicinity? I shall destroy you with words that cut and stares that burn. You don’t understand what I am going through. You cannot say anything that will stop me from engulfing you with my fury.
Stage 3: Bargaining
Once you have kicked yourself and others for getting on that rollercoaster ride, you begin to gradually calm down. We seek our higher power to guide us, to forgive us, to give us an explanation as to why the relationship ended. We begin to sort out what we have done wrong to them, and what we could have done to prevent this mishap. We make a checklist in our head of what we could have done differently. But in this stage, we still fail to realize that no matter how hard we bargain and reason with ourselves, nothing is going to change.
Stage 4: Depression
The three stages come down on us at the same time. You thought you were done with them? Nope. They’re coming to get you. We become helpless and hopeless. We blame ourselves. We torture ourselves. We make that voice in our head that tells us we’re no good louder. That voice then becomes your only solitude. It becomes you.
Stage 5: Acceptance
While not many leave the previous stage, some are luckier. We begin to accept that the relationship is over and guess what? It’s time to move on. We may have flashbacks of better times with them, we may want to even hold on to them. We begin to resolve our inner conflict. No longer will there be any cognitive dissonance. What doesn’t kill us, makes us stronger.
But! What if we realized that our relationship is going to end and we still have hope? They say that if you love somebody, tell them. Trust me, it is not that hard. If you were best friends forever, then why should your relationship end just because of something you were not willing to resolve? Best friends are not for show. Best friends are essentially your family. It doesn’t matter if you have one, or ten. You have gone through both good and bad times with them. You have secrets you will take to your grave for the other person. Best friends are the significant other sans sexual relations (unless you’re into that, no one is judging!).
It took me quite some time to realize the significance of a best friend. I have gained and lost a few in my lifetime. The ones that remain standing have been loyal for a decade or so. They have seen me at my worst, and at my very best. We may not speak much due to conflicting schedules, but they are always on my mind. And I know that they will leave everything at the drop of a hat if I needed them (or if shit hits the fan).
Loyalty. The one quality that you seek out in a best friend. For loyalty is what keeps you together as long as time permits. Love them, love them hard.