SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Denial. Anger. Bargaining. Depression. Acceptance. The five stages of grief.
If you've ever lost someone close to you, you'll hear it from therapists, clergy members and friends -- And it's totally unhelpful.
At least, according to author Joseph Lezza in his collection of essays called "I'm Never Fine: Scenes & Spasms on Loss." Lezza talked to ABC7 Mornings anchor Reggie Aqui as part of a queer book club series in celebration of Pride Month.
"They are almost gamifying grief, that it can somehow be beaten if you just stick it out," Lezza said. "I felt angry. Not only because I lost my father. But apparently, because I wasn't able to grieve him 'correctly."'
Lezza's book centers around the 15 months he spent as a caretaker for his dad, who died of cancer. He says the 'stages' speech he heard time and time again was well-meaning but, ultimately, hurtful.
"Grief is very much a wild animal. You don't tame a wild animal. You co-exist with it," he said.
The book is a love letter to a father who Lezza writes had "one setting when it came to dispensing his affection: overkill."
But, as is so familiar to many LGBTQ+ people, it's a complicated relationship when it comes to one's queerness. When writing about coming out to his dad, Lezza writes, "The man who had not cried at his own father's funeral, was shattered by the discovery of who his son really was."
In "I'm never fine" Lezza defines grief on his own terms and through a queer lens that he hopes will make others feel less lonely.
"I couldn't help but wonder if there weren't so many other people out there just like me."
Watch the full interview in the media player above.
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