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Handling the Periphery of Grieving

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Fact: Life in the outside world continues to move on while I am grieving. Having an order for each aspect of the Grieving Process lessens the bumpiness of life's continuous flow and makes each aspect more manageable. Part of order is to have boundaries on grief's main aspects. Unordered grief presents itself as infinite, formless, and "impossible" to manage--a mindset causing me to become overwhelmed and apathetic. Understandably, the most important boundary is placed around my grief so as to let me know it is not unlimited; it does have a form; and it is not intermingled with non-pertinent aspects of the Grieving Process. Next, to reduce the chance of the Grieving Process getting out of control, I fashion a boundary at the border separating the Periphery and grief's core. This Periphery is like the archery ring which surrounds the bull's eye. Without the boundary between them, the Periphery's problematic thoughts, emotions, expressions, and behaviors would intermingle with the core of the Grieving Process and increase mental turmoil--turmoil hampering healing from my grief.

This boundary has two parts--the broad and the specific. Its broad aspect includes the Background Preparation. Besides consisting of a sound philosophy of life and a Purpose for living fully, it embraces reserves and having "extras" for whatever is of a Keystone or MVP nature, as discussed below.

Specific Organization begins with a plan designed for efficiency and effectiveness. To this end I make a column for the problematic categories of my ongoing activities of daily living (e.g. with money in one column; people in another column; etc.). Of all the categories, the most important is selected and called the Keystone Category. Similarly, the subcategories in each of the categories, including those within the Keystone, are prioritized and thereby I arrive at a Keystone Subcategory in each category. The most important of those keystone subcategories is handled first. However, sometimes there is a common theme affecting two or more categories (e.g. money problems resulting from ones main job affecting family relationships) and that "bottom-line" theme is the MVP (Most Vast Problem). Since success is in the details, the greatest attention is directed to handling the details pertaining to the "bottom-line." If possible, I do what is necessary to first clear up the Keystone Subcategory Problem and the MVP. This is followed by ensuring they do not happen again. Yet, if they keep recurrently happening then I devise plans to handle them quickly and smoothly--for that will be extremely important in reducing their complexities within the Grieving Process.

Some problems are avoidable. Since several other things seem to go bad during bad times, experience has taught me to have a surplus, reserves, and back-ups (or substitutes) for everything essential for my continued progress. For example, while in my orthopaedic surgical practice, to have a spare dictating machine avoided having to interrupt my schedule if my main machine malfunctioned.

Similarly, a second car, for which I paid less than $100, allowed me to go to something urgent when my "good" car was broken down. Meanwhile, things I rely on everyday are kept in good working order in hopes they will not break down during my grieving period. Part of this includes such little things as always keeping the car gas tank filled. Personal problems need to be diagnosed and managed.

One example is the habit of being overly dramatic and exaggerating. Hidden reasons for both include trying to impress others and/or to convince oneself of the sincerity of ones true response to the loss. Whereas exaggerating makes it impossible to focus on the truth as one knows it to be, truth-seeking puts one on the healthy path. However, sincere over-dramatic reaction to the Trigger Core may be an indication for management by a mental health specialist. The point: go through the Grieving Process with as few extraneous problems as possible--particularly those which could have been handled earlier. Think about everything!


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