By Emily Stonehouse
You’ve probably heard it before. References to the five stages of grief. Maybe you’ve heard it alluded to on a television show, or from a doctor, or maybe you’ve experienced them yourself:
denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.
During a time of loss, emotions can feel complicated. The purpose of the five stages of grief framework is to add validity and understanding to those big emotions. It also gives direction through the pain. Once you’ve hit stage two or three, you know there are only a few more to go. The countdown is on. You can see the light at the end of the tunnel. You’re doing it. You’re almost there.
A loss can be anything. A person, a pet, a chapter in your life, an opportunity you missed.
Or a local emergency department.
If I were to hazard a guess, I would say we as a community are comfortably hovering around the second stage these days: anger.
We went through the denial already. The quarry of questions, the cornucopia of concerns. We spent six weeks believing it just wouldn’t happen. They wouldn’t do it. The efforts would be noticed. It could never actually be final.
But here we are, just over two weeks since the closure date, and we have shifted gears into stage two.
And what a vile and toxic stage it is.
Name-calling, threats, accusations, anger. What was previously a feel-good story of a grassroots group of individuals fighting for the betterment of our community has turned into a great divide. Multiple groups sprouting up on Facebook, each one blaming the other for their shortcomings, accusing one another of withholding information, bullying, and, ironically, losing focus of the big picture.
I have watched words like “slander” and “libel” and “fraud” being tossed around freely, with little consideration towards the faces or feelings behind the screens.
I thought about doing a deep dive into this. About tracing the money from the various fundraising campaigns myself. I considered contacting the big names and trying to find the truth. Whatever that is. And maybe if it continues, I will. Maybe it will be worthy of a front-page story one day.
But right now, it’s just anger. Vile and toxic anger, lashed out from a place of grief. I know that, because I can see while wading through the hundreds and hundreds of comments that flood the multiple sites, that no one is happy with anything. It doesn’t matter if you are being clear-cut or cagey, kind or cutting. It doesn’t matter.
Everyone is sitting in stage two. Everyone is angry.
And yes, maybe there is a story behind, underneath, and ahead of the anger. But currently, it’s not a story, it’s a storm.
I hope we can move forward soon. Right now, we’re wallowing in stage two. But soon enough, I am confident that as a community, we will find our footing once again, and continue the march ahead. While there will be highs and lows as we navigate the stages of grief, as we come to terms with the loss, maybe one day, we will see the light at the end of the tunnel.
We’re doing it.
We’re almost there.