The dual process model, developed by Margaret Stroebe and Henk Schut, suggests that we move back and forth between two modes as we grieve.
When I was in the loss-oriented mode, grief was the main thing I felt. I felt sad, lonely and angry. I couldn't believe that I was going through this, and I couldn't understand why. As a freelancer, I needed to go back to work as otherwise I had no income. And when I was working I felt almost normal. I was restoration-oriented. It distracted me from the awfulness. And then I felt bad that I wasn't grieving. I was coping. This model helped me see that my mind was taking me away from the grief sometimes, particularly when it got too overwhelming, and it was helping me to look after myself.
I was widowed at 50 when Tim, who I expected would be my happy-ever-after following a marriage break-up, died suddenly from heart failure linked to his type 2 diabetes. Though we'd known each other since our early 20s, we'd been married less than ten years.