1. While everyone is unique, there are some common stages everyone appears to go through.
2. You are normal when these feelings, or emotions, overtake you. Every stage is normal when it comes to grieving any level of loss.
3. Stages of grief aren’t necessarily travelled in order, but generally do.
4. There isn’t an expected length of time for each stage, and your emotions and thoughts can bounce between some of them simultaneously.
5. Facing grief solo isn’t necessary, and definitely not recommended. Both Christian counseling and regular counseling is available, as well as speaking with a pastor, friends, and others. Support groups can be a blessing.
6. Beware of getting stuck in a stage, or having an elongated or delayed time of grieving.
7. Not having a social network can also inhibit the grieving process.In the past, I’ve witnessed false expectations. People have said, “I should be over this by now,” “I’m a man, I shouldn’t be crying,” or “I know better than to act this way.” Another reaction is, “I must be crazy,” and “I don’t understand.” All normal thoughts.See if the 5 stages of grief I learned about in college, developed by Elizabeth K. Ross, will help.Stage 1: Denial and isolation – known as shock or disbelief; a conscious or subconscious refusal to accept facts, or face reality
Stage 2: Anger – contains much pain and guilt; realizing a significant loss raises madness with much frustration; can be manifested in several ways
Stage 3: Bargaining – seeking answers in a manner of wanting to trade in a give and take fashion since anger demands reaction. “if I give something, I can get something in return.”
Stage 4: Depression – succumbing to the realization nothing you can do will give you satisfaction, hope can be temporarily lost upon reflecting, leaving you lonely
Stage 5: Acceptance – knowing you can move forward in some form or fashion.
Personally, I find Rick Warren’s 6 stages much easier to understand what you’re going through, plus has a Biblical basis. SHOCK is his name for denial.’ SUFFERING replaces anger, which is an interesting take to me. I mean, pain is equivalent to suffering, which could be manifested in profound sadness , or anger. STRUGGLE then replaces bargaining. This is where all the why questions are asked, yet can’t be figured out. These deep thoughts and ponderings could easily spiral one into depression. Upon realizing there are no answers, and even if there were, they don’t give you peace, Rick believes you SURRENDER and trust God here. This would probably be the beginning of acceptance, but Rick adds in SANCTIFICATION as a turning point to his last stage, SERVICE. Christians believe all things work together for good for those who love God and are called according to His purpose. So, it stands to reason, we should use our pain and struggles to give to others. Definitely worked in all of our local tornadoes, and is highly recommended for recovery to addicts. God can turn any test into a testimony for His glory. Amen?When life’s storms and numerous tragedies struck our family, our bodies instantly went into shock, or disbelief. The moment news reached our ears, survival mode took over. Work ceased. obsessed with fresh loss, our conversation centered around asking questions to gather more information, get answers, then pass on to others. My prayers consisted of one and two-word phrases. I likened my short-term memory to those twenty years my senior.As the sorrow and pain grew heavy, we preferred staying home as often as obligations allowed. While there, we sought comfort in our usual ways…read a book. For me, that meant listening to a talking book. A walk might be in order. Eating ice cream, or lots of chocolate works wonders, but naps work the best for me.
Others might read the Bible, listen to relaxing music, watch funny movies, exercise in a different way, and eat their favorite junk food.
What I call survivor’s guilt is my toughest battle. Yes, I feel guilty for having a house when someone loses theirs, or for having whatever someone else lost. This is common for many.
Eventually, with each tragedy, I come around to acceptance. I move forward with what I deem my new normal. My service has been through our Word in Action Ministries, where I’ve organized distribution centers, coordinated volunteers, and delivered merchandise. On my own, I can send money, Prayers, or phoning victims to encourage, since sending cards isn’t an option for me any longer.
Stay strong and be of good courage, as the book of Joshua repeatedly instructs. God created our emotions and built-in our system of grieving. Let Him guide you, and carry you during your weakest moments.
LET’S TALK. How have you been holding up through your personal and national tragedies? Share what works for you.
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© 2017, Jena Fellers. All rights reserved.
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