The Pain of Separation and the Growth After That
It is painful to separate with any person or object with whom one is attached to. In the pain of separation, each person goes thru Grief cycle, which has 5 stages of: Denial – Anger – Bargaining – Depression – Acceptance. Each time one completes this cycle, the person grows by creating a new space for the new things, new relations and all the new opportunities. Whether one is aware or not aware, these are the stages a person goes through during the grieving time.
Consider the event of the child going to the school for the first time. In parent’s life this is a big event of the baby and sometimes even parents also break down seeing their child crying. If you’re a nursery teacher, you know the events on the 1st of the school! The child, so far, has grown up at home with all the known people – appa, amma, ajja, ajji and may be elder bro/sis. School is altogether new place for it. Its a change of environment in terms of physical place, toys, people, type of relations, kind of dressing, routine…and so-on. It is literally a separation from all the current attachments. The child’s first response is for this separation is Denial. Everyday, it gets up with an assumption that it needn’t have to go to school. Of course, for its tender age, it won’t know that it is denying. Then, it gets into the Anger stage by crying, getting angry and showing temper tantrums. As the days pass by and going to school becomes pattern, the child would say – “I don’t want to go today”, “Get me chocolate when I return from school”, “Come in bike to pick me up”, OR taking some toys to school, going on its tricycle to school etc. So, its willing to go with some bargains. Not every child may go through a depression stage, as they are thriving with life and energy and they don’t have much expectations. And finally, it will reach the stage of Acceptance and would start going to school everyday as though its a normal event. All these happen over a period of few weeks to few months. In the whole process of completing this cycle, a new space is gradually created for it to develop new set of attachments – friends, teachers, school (stepping stone into society), routine, learning, toys and so-on.
Understanding of the above stages would help in understanding the feelings of the child and its stages when it is going through a change. So, not every cry is bad. The above kind of crying is for grieving which leads to the growth of the child. Navigating thru this cycle enables the child to handle the separations in future, which would be a norm through out the life. Moreover this is not the first experience of the child as it would have gone through such separation experience when it moved out of womb.
Irrespective of the age, whenever a person goes through a separation, he will be going through the above stages. And this navigation happens linearly, back & forth, with some stages being navigated quickly and some slowly. Till the time, one holds onto the loss, it is difficult to get into new space and relationships that leads to growth. Each person, based on his personality and the severity of the loss takes different amount of time to go through this cycle. It may even take years. It doesn’t help in pushing by saying – “how long will you be like this”! Rather, it would help, if he is provided with the space for the grieving process. Sometimes a therapy or counselling may help.
The above losses are in physical dimension. There are separations in subtle dimensions too and the grieving process applies there as well. Consider a person deeply attached to a plan, and the reality throws a different scene. Like someone who couldn’t get a software engineer job and so picked up teaching as career; Wanted to be an artist, but, landed up doing business ; Was waiting for the bus, but, it didn’t turn up; Wanted to go home, but, got an urgent work from manager and have to stay back; Couldn’t travel from foreign for sister’s wedding because of Corona virus. There was a great attachment to these plans and it is now separated. All these are grieved. This grieving process of separation happens with non-living things too: loss of mobile, moving to different place, loss of money and so-on.
This doesn’t mean to say – just ditch a relationship or the plan or an expectation or an object, that is now lost and move on. As human beings, we are designed to get attached and build the relationship, both with living and non-living things.
One might have seen or heard of people among relatives and friends who behaved very maturely with losses and cope up with it well. Knowingly or unknowingly they are going through these stages and reach the stage of acceptance quickly. That’s what is the indicator of their maturity.That is why it is said that if one has to grow, one has to accept.