The 5 Stages of Grief and a Hummingbird Messenger!

“I measure every Grief I meet
With narrow, probing, eyes – 
I wonder if It weighs like Mine – 
Or has an Easier size.
I wonder if They bore it long – 
Or did it just begin… “
-Emily Dickinson


I am still here. I am still living inspired. I have had a very difficult year thus far. The majority of the painful things I have been going through will not show up on this blog, simply because some things are of too much of a personal nature to share. The overall theme of the year however has been dealing with the pain that comes with loss- in all its many forms.

Some losses are literal deaths, and some are metaphorical deaths. Sometimes things have to unravel. They have to fall apart so that they can be rebuilt. Yes, something beautiful can be reborn from the ashes of our lives. One thing is for certain- loss is a teacher. If we allow it to be, it can also be a transformer-taking us to the next level of ourselves. Sometimes pain is just necessary for growth.


Living Fully ALIVE Sometimes Comes with Pain


I have had 3 deaths this year. My grandmother went to heaven on my birthday. February 27th. My very dear friend and client Meryl died unexpectedly the month before. She emailed me the night before she passed saying that she felt awful and had pneumonia. I woke up to a FB message from her family the next day telling me she had passed in the night. I was shocked. (This blog post turns positive and is about hope, so stay tuned…) Another dear friend, Teresa, passed from cancer in April I think it was.

There have been some other types of losses as well. Heartbreaks from friendships, as well as love and relationship pains (to be positive I will call these “growing pains”). I have been going through an odd spectrum of emotions this year. I’ve been more emotional this year than I have been in over a decade. I can’t remember the last time I have had so much pain and “drama” in my life.

It was probably prior to when I shut down and became somewhat of a recluse for awhile back in my 20’s. During that time in my life I had experienced so much pain and trauma that I wound up with severe PTSD (something I will talk about at some point on this blog). I completely withdrew from most people because it was necessary for my healing at that time. Though I can tell you I wasn’t really living. It was safe though and so my life has been fairly drama free, minus a slew of deaths in my family over the years. You see, when you don’t allow yourself to feel too much, and you don’t allow people in, it is very safe. You will not get hurt. There is not nearly as much drama, because there is no one in your life to cause it. It is also a lonely place to be.

I have been living bravely again, with my heart wide open, taking risks and putting myself out there for several years now. I guess since about the time I started this blog.


The 5 Stages of Grief


I am getting away from myself. So back to the emotions I have been going through this year. Feeling numb at times. Confused. Lots of crying (I cried nearly every day for a month recently-not the norm for me). The worst feeling is when you don’t feel at all or when you simply feel disconnected. Like you are here in physical form, but your heart isn’t in it. Have you ever been in a room of laughing people and felt totally alone? That was me a month ago when my best friend and her son were staying with me for the week. In the midst of a party I start crying in the corner. There have been other things too. Feeling cranky (in person anyway) with people and wanting to be left alone or even run away (on a few occasions). I sometimes get the urge to go off by myself and pitch a tent in nature to just disconnect from it all.

For someone who is very much of a cheery disposition and generally loves the company of others, this has been a bit disconcerting. You know it’s bad when your neighbor calls you to ask if you are still alive over there because they haven’t seen you (as in the case of my neighbor across the street), or if they see you sitting alone outside under a tree with a blank stare and text you to ask if you are ok (as in the case of my next door neighbor). Yet most people would not know I have been suffering this year because I am still a miracle hunter and do tend to live with joy despite my circumstances. At least, to the best I am capable of.


A couple weeks ago the light bulb went off.  This slew of strange (for me) emotions was the 5 stages of grief! I looked up grief and read about it, and all of the stages fit the various things I have been feeling this year. Just having a name to put to it and understanding this is a completely normal process for the amount of loss and changes I have been going through this year, was a relief. There is a really good article about it HERE (from if you are going through some grief this year and need to make sense of it all.

Grief comes in so many forms and not just from the loss of loved ones due to death. It could be death of a job, death of a relationship, etc. Now this blog post is about to turn positive. You know I always live inspired despite my circumstances and will hunt for the miracles in any situation. Yes, I am currently still in the grief process, but I am seeing a light of hope at the end of the tunnel.


The Hummingbird Messenger


Nature is sending me messengers to confirm this 😀 Many of you know that my clients refer to me as “the fairy godmother” and that I have a bit of magic in me when it comes to being connected to the natural world. Especially winged creatures. I am being visited by a hummingbird again! While I was on the phone with my friend Sweetwater talking about my grief, but mentioning a gut feeling I had about something that would happen down the road if I had faith, Hummingbird appeared. It came out of nowhere and met me face to face, at eye level. I was peering out the window onto my garden when it appeared on the other side of the glass. There are no hummingbird feeders and no flowers within several feet of this window. It literally hovered in front of my face, almost nose to nose, looking directly at me.

This hummingbird has come to visit me three times since! It doesn’t matter what time of day it is, when I appear in front of that window there it is. Yesterday morning when I went to open the blinds, the hummingbird was on the other side of it. Imagine my surprise (and delight)! It came to visit one evening a few days ago while I was standing there by that same window singing a song on video. In fact, I had to shut down the video because I became so distracted by the bird and stood there in awe as it fluttered around me whilst I sang. The last time I had a visit from a hummingbird was during my wedding reception when it flew in the tent. That time I got to hold it and pet it.

ruby throated hummingbird

This is the actual photo of the hummingbird I got to pet. All we had was a low quality cell phone on us to snap this shot.

Hummingbirds are messengers of Joy and Hope (and even love).

Hummingbird Meaning

“The hummingbird generally symbolizes joy and playfulness, as well as adaptability. Additional symbolic meanings are:

  • Lightness of being, enjoyment of life
  • Being more present
  • Independence
  • Bringing playfulness and joy in your life
  • Lifting up negativity
  • Swiftness, ability to respond quickly
  • Resiliency, being able to travel great distances tirelessly”(excerpt taken from THIS website (where you can read more about what hummingbirds symbolize)


When you get reoccurring visits from an animal, pay attention to what your intuition says and how you feel/what you are thinking at the time. That can help clue you in as to what the message is. I won’t share everything I feel the hummingbird was trying to show me, but I will say that part of its job was to remind me to be present to THIS moment. Have joy. Feel lightness of being. Have hope. A deep knowing that the fullness of my joy will return again someday soon once I get through the other side of this grief process.

A process it is. I must be patient. It can’t be rushed and I cannot pressure (nor allow others to pressure me) to be back to “normal” in any imposed time frame. It’s ok to be human. It is ok to feel ALL the feelings. Including JOY in the midst of suffering or grief. It’s a dance (maybe a bit like the hokey pokey 😀 ) because being a FEELING human being (which means being fully ALIVE) is just the whole spectrum of emotions. This is life. This is living. It can be everything all at once, and you can flit back and forth between different stages. Just sit with it all and allow. Trust the process. I’ve felt so burdened lately that I needed this reminder to lighten up!


If you are experiencing grief, profound loss, life challenges or changes, or just a bump in the road on your life journey, remember to look around you for signs of hope. Miracles are everywhere! Even present and ever present in the midst of pain.

Will you join me in being a “Miracle Hunter?” You can do this by keeping your eyes peeled each day for all the little things that we often miss or take for granted. Signs from nature, phone calls from friends or even messages from strangers saying the exact thing we needed to hear at that exact moment, happy little surprises, serendipity. 🙂

“Hope” is the thing with feathers –

That perches in the soul –

And sings the tune without the words –

And never stops – at all –

-Emily Dickinson

Thanks for joining me on this journey as “Together, We Live Inspired”!

Love, Rebekah


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4 Responses to The 5 Stages of Grief and a Hummingbird Messenger!

  1. This was an incredible blog post Bekah and I’m sure will help many people. Bless you honey. I hope your heart heals gently and in the fullness of time you will feel better, and your continuing to search for miracles in the face of it all is surely inspiring. I love you honey, many blessings to you on your journey… <3

    • Rebekah Ann Stephenson (We Live Inspired) says:

      Thank you my dear friend <3 . I am glad you enjoyed it! I have officially shared it “all over tarnation” lol. Hoping it can inspire others. I love you too! Thank you for taking the time to comment.

  2. Heather H says:

    Beautiful – the post and your soul 🙂 I so want to hold a hummingbird now! I’ve always been enchanted by them and had a couple of surprise visits in my life as well. Be blessed!

  3. I can so relate to this and feel your pain and hope. I lost 3 family members in a 6 month period, 3years ago. It’s still so very hard. For me a butterfly reminds me of my mom and l stop and pause and say hi whenever I see one.