Sunday, May 18, 2008

Grief

Unfortunately, most people would like to just get through the grief as quickly as possible.  Grief is a process...one that takes time.  How much?  Well, that depends on the person going through the grief.  Some people process it quicker than others.  Some get stuck on one step of the grief process.

What is grief?  Wikipedia defines it as:


Grief is a multi-faceted response to loss. Although conventionally focused on the emotional response to loss, it also has physical, cognitive, behavioral, social, and philosophical dimensions. Common to human experience is the death of a loved one, whether it be a friend, family, or other close companion. While the terms are often used interchangeably, bereavement often refers to the state of loss, and grief to the reaction to loss.

How does one process grief?  Commonly there are 5 stages of grief.

Denial - "this can't be happening to me"...Not accepting or even acknowledging the loss.

Anger - "why me?"...Anger at the deceased, blaming them for leaving.

Bargaining - Attempting to make deals with God to stop or change the loss. Begging, wishing, praying for them to come back.

Depression - Overwhelming feelings of hopelessness, frustration, bitterness, self pity, mourning loss of person as well as the hopes, dreams and plans for the future. Feeling lack of control, feeling numb.

Acceptance - there is a difference between resignation and acceptance. You have to accept the loss, not just try to bear it quietly. Realization that the person is gone that it is not their fault, they didn't leave you on purpose. Stay with fond memories of person.

I'm seeing this happen in our church from the loss of a young child, to the loss of close family members.  I'm also seeing these steps processed in our family.  My dad internalizes his emotions and we are seeing that through the numbers when he checks his blood (he has diabetes).

Where am I?  Well, I think I'm on the acceptance phase.

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