I’m winding down today in this series that I have been doing on the “The Mountain of Grief”. I just want to remind you that I am sharing my experience, strength and hope, not professional advice.
Being a person who has experienced grief in more than one way, I believe that grief is definitely a “steep” mountain climbing experience. It is not easy but it is necessary when a loss occurs in one’s life. I have shared in this series of six articles testimonies of people who have gone through the grieving process for various reasons.
The testimonies that I used were of people who had lost people, but grief can be experienced over the losses of many other things. Some of those things would be pets, homes, jobs, physical abilities, items/valuables that are stolen but not replaceable, etc. What we suffer grief over would depend on our personalities and the things or people whom we hold dear to our hearts.
In the first article I included a list of the stages of grief as others have seen them. Below is a list and short descriptions of the stages of grief as I understand them:
STAGES OF GRIEF
This would be the stage in which one would first be informed of the loss. It is possible that it would be a feeling of numbness from what is going on around them, feeling as if they are not real or that whoever is doing the informing is mistaken or talking about someone else. During this time there may not be any emotion expressed because the fact of the loss has not set in. The person who is still alive or being informed may not believe the news when they are informed. This stage could last a few seconds, minutes, hours or weeks.
The pain possibly coupled with depression will start to surface once the loss is realized and accepted as being an actual permanent situation. It will be an unbearable, excruciating pain that cuts through the person. It must be experienced and not avoided in order for the person to move on. It is something that when one is right in the middle of experiencing it they will not think that it will pass, but it will. One must experience it fully. The person may sleep or cry a lot, sit quietly for long periods of time, gain weight/lose weight, may experience insomnia. If substance/alcohol abuse, neglect or abuse of children or self-destructive behavior occurs, there must be intervention by close friends/relatives.
Anger will come, lashing out at places, things and people. Although it must be acknowledged, this is one stage that must be controlled to a certain extent because your relationships with other people could be damaged if you do not use a certain amount of self-control.
This will come in ways like trying to make a bargain with oneself, other people or God to change in impossible ways in order for the person to come back or the pain to subside. At this stage the person who has lost may talk incessantly about the loss and rehash the happenings over and over again in order to come to the same conclusion. This stage needs to be worked through and those who are supporting the grieving person must be patient with the person who is grieving while they are going through this. They will get past it, it is a very healthy stage to be in.
Guilt would be when one would continually blame themselves or their actions for the loss and think that they could have done something differently in order to keep the loss from occurring. It can go hand in hand with the Bargaining stage.
6. Upward turn-
This would be when one would start immerging from the negative emotions, start focusing, seeing the light at the end of the tunnel and acting as if they see it. Possibly starting to get on with their lives or considering getting on with it.
This is when other reasons for living and making plans for the future become a reality. It no longer seems impossible. Everyday is no longer spent thinking about the loss. Even though it is still a fact and the person/people who are lost will always be missed, the person who is still here will start looking forward to the future, again, and accept that the person who is lost will no longer be a part of the future.
I am not a professional or expert on grief. I have experienced it, though, and gone from one extreme to the other. I learned very early in life because I tried to suppress grief over a situation that it is not emotionally healthy to suppress grief.
Most recently, after having lived for 54 years of life on this earth, I experienced a major loss in my life. I wanted to get through it in a healthy way. The loss was unplanned, totally unexpected, a shock and as if I had been socked in the face or punched in the stomach. I was injured and I knew that I did not want to carry the grief with me for the rest of my life, so I started praying. The two things that I asked for when I prayed were for the Lord to lead me through this loss and I asked that He help me to not become bitter.
I did not want to become a “walking dead” person. I wanted to get to a place where I could enjoy life again.
One thing that He led me to do was to stop all of the busyness in my life. I withdrew from all of the activities that I was involved in. I started caring for myself in a loving way. I am very fortunate, too, to have a husband who lovingly cared for me and tried his best to understand and be patient with me while he was grieving over the same situation. There were places that I could just not bring myself to visit because it was too painful. I had to stop being “strong”.
Some may say that it was isolation, but in my case it was the best thing that I could have done. The Lord met me there and I started writing, journaling. Prayed a lot. Read my Bible and studied His word a lot. Then I decided to start this blog.
At different times throughout day I would listen to worship music on my computer and if a song really ministered to me I would run to the computer to see what it was and I would save the youtube version of it on my favorites. I would then sit down, put my earphones in and listen to some of them every day.
I read a lot, some of it good clean fiction (to escape for a little while) and some inspirational reading, some magazines, too. I would also go to the Daystar (a Christian television network) website on my laptop and watch recordings of previously aired shows.
I went through all of these stages of grief, maybe not in the exact order that I have listed, but they were all visited at one time or another. Some of the stages have been revisited more than once by me during this season. I will think that I am past a certain stage and it will come to visit again.
The holidays are difficult for many of us who have lost loved ones. Pain and depression hit me again the day after Thanksgiving, but I relaxed and prayed, God is so faithful and He brought me to other side very quickly.
If you grieve you are not alone, please know. God is with you and He will comfort you. Sounds cliché but it is true.
One more thing that I want to mention is that if you find yourself or a loved one who is grieving getting stuck in one or more of the stages do not ever hesitate to get professional help. Sometimes it is needed and when needed, it should not be avoided. I do feel very strongly about this.
I am going to close with this scripture today:
“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me,
Because the Lord has anointed Me
To preach good tidings to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives,
And the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
2 To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord,
And the day of vengeance of our God;
To comfort all who mourn,
3 To console those who mourn in Zion,
To give them beauty for ashes,
The oil of joy for mourning,
The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;
That they may be called trees of righteousness,
The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.”
God’s word is true!
Love and blessings to you!