Since 04/23/2016, the internet has been buzzing about Lemonade. Singer Beyoncé released an album after HBO premiered her visual album for “Lemonade.” Some of the lyrics have caused many rumors about the singer’s relationship. I have read rumors that suggest this album is about everything from grief about heartbreak, infidelity, divorce, side chicks, and Orishas. (Insert side eye). None of which the singer has confirmed. However, if the relationship rumors are true, I can appreciate why she chose to release this album. Being humanized can provide a sense of freedom in a world that expects someone like Beyoncé to be perfect. Feeling broken hearted is a human emotion that many people experience in their lifetime. One of the most normal reactions that occur during and after heartbreak is grief.
Grief is the natural, normal response to a loss. The process is experienced in different ways and in no certain order. Many of us have experienced the loss of a relationship that was very important to us. Whether a person died, cheated, or divorced, there’s pain. Sometimes, unforgivable pain. We use the phrase, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” That is what many are saying is the theme in Beyoncé’s “Lemonade.” But what does that even mean, and how can it help with understanding and experiencing grief after the loss of a relationship? Read on to find out what happens at each stage of grief during and after the loss of a relationship.
Grief is characterized in five stages, not necessarily in this order.
Denial is sometimes the first reaction to life changing or extremely hurtful situations. Denial is a defense mechanism that provides a temporary, sometimes short response that helps us not experience the reality of immediate pain.
Example of denial related to relationship loss:
- Not accepting that the relationship is over
Once reality begins to take effect, we experience the painful emotions that we’ve been trying to deny. Sometimes, we express this pain through anger. We’re angry about the situation, and the persons involved. We take this anger out on objects, strangers, family, and sometimes ourselves.
Examples of anger related to relationship loss:
- Breaking things, scolding our kids harshly, extreme aggression at home/work, self destructive behavior
We realize that we’ve lost control. One way to regain control is to “make a deal,” in order to put off the painful outcome.
Examples of bargaining related to relationship issues:
- “If I would have left sooner this wouldn’t have happened”
- God if you fix this I promise to…”
This is more than mere sadness. Depression happens once we realize that our efforts to fix or ignore the situation are not working. Some experience extreme sadness, guilt and worry that makes it impossible to complete daily activities.
Examples of depression related to relationship loss:
- Being so grief stricken that one is unable to go to work, or even get out of the bed
- Poor concentration
- Neglecting personal hygiene
- Decrease or increase in appetite
- Not taking care of kids
- Job loss
Many people do not get to this stage. Those who do allow themselves to come to terms with the loss, understand that acceptance does not equal happiness, nor depression. Acceptance is being able to effectively cope with the loss.
Examples of acceptance related to relationship loss:
- Decreased anger
- Possible reconciliation
Grief can be complicated, but you don’t have to do it alone. You shouldn’t try to stop yourself from grieving. Experiencing and feeling disconnected from someone you love is heartbreaking, I get that. Choose to find someone to help you get through the rough patches. Someone who can offer a hug, a listening ear or a shoulder to cry on.
If you ever feel like you’re going to hurt yourself, or someone else; call 911, go to the nearest ER, or call the National Suicide Hotline.