It has been about a month and a half since my mom passed away and it seems like life has been a whirlwind throughout this time. Dad has since been put on hospice and is now living at Bradford Village where Mom resided. As I have worked through my feelings and grief with my parents, I thought it might be helpful to remind people that grief comes to all of us when we experience large changes in our lives - even good changes can inspire some grief.
Elisabeth Kubler-Ross was the pioneer of studying grief and loss. She developed five stages that the average person experiences when they encounter loss: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Not everyone goes through all five stages and they are not necessarily experienced in that order.
Sometimes you will revisit a stage that you thought was finished.
I believe that I’ve handled my own grief in a fairly normal fashion. I have tried to deal with my emotions as best as I could. However, I do think that I’ve spent some time in denial through my behavior. I developed a habit of playing Fortnite which is a video game on David’s Xbox in the evenings. While playing this game, I am not really dealing with reality and it is an escape from the grief I’m experiencing.
Another way that denial has come has been in writing thank-you notes. The church was absolutely fantastic to me and my family. I lost track of the number of sympathy cards I received. Many people brought food and others donated gift cards and still others donated to my mother’s memorial fund through the church. I try to stay on top of sending thank you notes but I still have many left to write. When I’ve attempted it, I have broken down and been unable to put words down on the card. I’m not sure why this particular aspect is troubling me but it may be that my mother was the one who taught me to write them!
So grief will act out in strange ways. We may find ourselves angry at little situations (I’ve also done this) that don’t deserve the vehemence we are giving! This is displaced aggression and it comes because we are trying to deal with the loss and there may be no good source for blame.
Grief is also tiring. You may need more sleep than you normally require. I’ve found this to be the case but I am getting better.
Change is inevitable. We would like to keep those we love with us but we only have them for a portion of our lives. We all experience significant loss eventually. As people of faith, we remind ourselves that God goes with us during these times. As those who believe in preceding grace, we also believe that God goes with them as well.
As the letters of John define God as love, I remind myself that God is the spiritual connection that we have with one another. If God is with all people (whether they realize it or not), then we are never really parted from people as we remember we are connected with God. This larger spiritual connection helps us to find acceptance when grief comes to us.
Check out more of Sam’s blog articles at www.precedinggrace.blogspot.com.