Grief has an eighth stage: learning how to live
Surviving the death of a loved one is like baking a cake. For those who don’t spend much time near an oven, a cake is composed of a few standard ingredients: flour, eggs, milk, butter, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Many of these items can be substituted. Some can even be eliminated. You would still end up with an edible, and tasty, cake.
Now imagine that you have woken up in a world where eggs no longer exist.
It is entirely possible to make a cake without eggs, as any vegan or person with egg allergies will be happy to tell you. They may not tell you that a cake made without eggs will be different.
Eggs not only help to bind the other ingredients, but give the baked good the light and fluffy texture that makes the eyes roll to the back of the head, heart race, and mouth shape the words, “I would love another slice!” even after you’ve already had two. Applesauce, certain ground seeds, and packaged egg substitutes can be used, but the end result will be denser, heavier. Different.
This does not mean that an eggless cake is a bad cake. Despite the change in texture, it will still taste delightful. The sweetness will endure, and cravings will be satisfied. It won’t be the same as what you remembered. It won’t be exactly what you wanted to order. It will still be good.
Learning how to live after the loss of a loved one is a lot like baking a cake without eggs.
It’s not remembering how to live, because you already know how that works. The ingredients with which you once could work are no longer with you, though. You have to learn how to do things with what is available. You can still bake a cake. Someday, you will discover how you can even make things like meringue and “eggs” benedict without the use of eggs. Again, it won’t be the same, but it will still be good.
Life can still be good.