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God save the Queen - The missing piece

Aggiornamento: 18 set 2022

The queen is dead. We all knew it had to happen sooner or later.

Just how many memes and articles have hinted at her unearthing the fountain of youth or finding the holy grail of immortality responsible for her seemingly never-ending rule? No matter the queen’s beauty secret—it still happened. Death comes for us all.

Yet, every loss is followed closely by a sensation of emptiness that we all struggle to fill.

Suddenly—we feel that we are missing a piece of ourselves.

Not only does loss create a missing piece, but we also become more aware of how it had become a part of us. A precious, powerful awareness.

Unfortunately, not everyone has the tools or time to internalize it.

Just think of Charles: within a few hours, he not only lost his mother—he became king.

Immediately he assumed her role of responsibilities revoking his ability to grieve.

How do we cope with loss?

Psychiatrist Elizabeth Kübler Ross theorized five stages that we go through during grief. Initially, we find ourselves facing a state of denial. A stage that, contrary to what one might think, is not characterized by huge reactions: the shock of loss is so sudden and strong that it leads most individuals to act as if nothing has happened.

Gradually, reality becomes increasingly more undeniable. Next, our denial turns to anger. The need to blame someone is compelling, whether it is our circumstances, life, others, and even ourselves, we look for a way to redirect this grief into something else to fill the emptiness we feel in ourselves with anger and disappointment.

We begin analyzing our past actions, looking, searching, and trying to locate answers to questions that will never be answered.

But they all circle back to the question we wish someone could answer for us.

What could I have done to prevent their death?

Eventually, one enters the stage of bargaining, where the raw emotions of frustration remain. Yet, the desire to figure out whether or not they are ready to invest in another relationship emotionally slowly becomes apparent to them.

Therefore, this is a stage of ups and downs that slowly leads to the stage of depression.

The griever will fluctuate between attempts to heal and falling victim to overwhelming sadness. For some, they may start developing physical symptoms: headaches, weight gain or loss, irritability, and either hypo or hypersomnia. Unfortunately, it is impossible to define a priori the duration of this period: it can last weeks, months, or even years.

However, no matter the duration, anyone in this situation is convinced that this pain will never end.

That is partly true—sufferance never truly goes away completely. However, many do not know that pain evolves: our turmoil finally gains a different meaning. We become interested in the surrounding world and people again. Thus, we enter the final stage: acceptance.

However, as we acknowledge who is missing from our lives will never return, we understand that that piece they took with them has become part of us on a higher, deeper level. We can feel it in the small gestures of daily life, in our actions, in our decisions. Finally, we realize that that piece has not only been with us all along but will never disappear.

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