Last year at this time January 5th to be exact my life was forever changed by the death of my Mom; She had suffered a stroke a month before, had been in a deep non responsive coma we were told she would never wake up and to prepare to let her go, then on day 12 sat up wide awake and pulled out her vent tube on her own., it was a Christmas miracle!! she was moved from CCU to ICU and on Christmas Eve I flew home knowing she would be transferred to a rehab facility in her hometown. 12 days later my Dad made that dreaded call to tell me Mom had passed peacefully in her sleep in the early morning hours.
Although the title of this post is a play on words I do believe that God means this for our good. There are 5 stages of grief/mourning, everyone experiences them differently and for different periods of time but in this process there is hope; Throughout each stage, a common thread of hope emerges: As long as there is life, there is hope. As long as there is hope, there is life. I am not sure who to give credit for this quote but I do believe whoever quoted it is on to something.
Let’s for a moment take a look at the 5 stages of grief/mourning but before we do that let’s see how Webster and God define these terms. The word grief: Webster’s definition as this; deep sadness cause especially by someone’s death,
a cause of deep sadness, trouble or annoyance.
While I couldn’t find a simple definition of grief in Strong’s Bible Dictionary I did find something interesting about the word mourning, Strong’s said that mourning is an outward expression of sorrow for the dead and also signs for repentance. There were many forms of mourning including weeping and wailing, wearing dark clothes, sackcloth and ashes just to name a few this usually lasted anywhere from 7-30 days.
We know by today’s standards that there is no time limit on grief /mourning, let’s take a look now at the 5 stages of grief :
There are 5 stages of normal grief that were first proposed by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross in her 1969 book called “On Death and Dying”. Keep in mind we all grieve differently and go through the stages differently, remember , grieving is a personal process that has no time limit or a right way to do it.
1. Denial and Isolation
This is normal and is a defense mechanism that helps us deal with the immediate shock. this helps us through our initial stage of pain.
Pain re-emerges and we are not ready, it is common to take it out on those around us or even be angry at the lost loved one, emotional we may resent the person for causing us pain or leaving us, we feel guilty for being angry which will tend to make us feel even more anger. Your anger may even be taken out on those that cared for your loved one or the persons whom you feel are to blame for the said loss.
The if only syndrome… Because we have already determined that Grief and mourning can be for other things besides death this is a normal reaction to the feelings of helplessness and vulnerability, it is often a need to regain control.
We worry about the cost of burial, not spending enough time with others that depend on us this is a reaction relating to the loss and can be eased by simple clarification and reassurance. The other type of depression is more subtle and in a sense more private, it is our quiet preparation to separate, to bid our loved one, the past or situation farewell. Sometimes all we really need is a hug and a prayer.
In the case of a physical death this stage may not be reached by everyone especially if it was sudden, and sometimes even in the case of a lost marriage, this stage may not be meant some people never see beyond their anger or denial.This phase is marked by withdrawal and calm, this is not a period of happiness and must be distinguished from depression.
Coping with grief/mourning is a deeply personal and singular experience, nobody can help you go through it more easily or understand all the emotions that you are going through, but others can be there for you and help comfort you through the process.The best thing to do is allow your self to feel grief as it comes, by not doing so you will prolong the natural process of healing.
God gives us many references to grief and mourning in His word and according to the definition’s given neither are only the death of a person but can also be the death of a well-loved job, marriage, friendship or dream. God always has a purpose for what he does in life and death, we are born to die the minute we come into this world, remember life is about what you do between the dashes. My Mom’s dashes were March 3,1941 – January 5,2014 in between was a woman who lived her life serving others without ever expecting anything in return was she perfect ?? no, but she learned over the years to grow towards God and his will for her life, I believe she will stand before God and hear Him say “Well done good and faithful servant”.
Dear God, help us in our times of grief and mourning to rely on you, bring those who are with us, around us to hold us up and support as we go through our times of loss. Comfort us and be with us always in all ways.