Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Letting go is painful...

Losing someone we are close to is a difficult, painful process.  Whether it is through death or separation, we all must go through the grieving process.   Grieving is not just crying.  It is going through many different stages:  Denial, anger, bargaining, sadness/despair, and finally acceptance.  (I think this is from Elisabeth Kubler-Ross.)    In my opinion this is the only way to heal.  We go through this process with God's help.  Each stage serves a purpose and brings understanding to what is happening to us.  Nothing can make the pain stop except time.  Trying to avoid it by filling the void with substances or another person only prolongs our grief.  Of course we need support and comfort, but we need these to get through the process, not instead of it.

I am not sure that medication is the answer either.  It does not necessarily get rid of our symptoms.  Sometimes all it does is stop our ablility to express our grief.  Unless we pass through the depths of the sorrow for each stage, our life and our Soul will never reach healing.   If we go through this process slowly, allowing time to move us through it naturally, the darkness we feel after a loss will disappear.  We will see light again. 

This is the first stage.  Our reaction may be shock, desperation, pretending it is not happening to us, acting as if everything is the same, or an inablility to see or take responsibility for our part in the loss (if it is not a loss from death). 

Once the denial begins to lessen, then we start to feel our loss/pain.  Anger is an attempt to stop, control, or push this pain out of our being.  If we are uncomfortable with anger, we may become passive/aggressive, blaming, shaming, revengeful or enter into a state of rage.  Usually, all of this will somehow be thrust upon all of those in our life.  Tread carefully, so as not to lose those people in our lives that are the closest to us.

This is the stage where we are trying to find the logical explanation for our pain.  We feel desperate, needy, confused, guilty, afraid, and so much more.  We might ask God questions like "I will do "this" if You will only change "this".  We ask ourselves "What did I do to cause this?"  "What could I have done differently?"  We plead and beg "Why, why me, why this?"  This is an attempt to find something to prevent the inevitable...letting go.  We are trying to negotiate with fate.  This is futile.  There is no changing the plan our God has for us.

Here we are...this is what we have been trying to avoid and prevent in the previous stages...the authentic sadness of our loss.  This is the surrendering stage.  Our grief has to be allowed to move through us.  The tears are different in this stage.  They come from deep within and are unyielding.  We scream.  We lose sense of time and logic.  We feel anguish down to our very bones.  We have become open to our humanness.  We are fragile.  We are strong.  We are REAL.   Our Spirit bleeds.  Our Spirit breathes.  Our Spirit hurts.  We grieve.  Then, once again we can love, nurture and be nourished.

This stage is not "Oh well, I guess there is nothing I can do about this."  This is a clear, precise awareness of our reality.  It can no longer be denied.  It not longer causes any feeling of anger or regret.  It is also not joyful or exciting.  It is more like a neutral, peaceful feeling.  We are able to go on with our life and move forward.  Looking back does not hurt.  The guilt is gone and we are able to feel good about being alone.  We will still cry, but we let the tears come freely because it helps us know that we survived a traumatic loss and that we have the strength to survive any future loss.  We loved and lost.  We can love again.

So here it is in black and white.  My opinion of grief and the process we go through.  We will all go through this at one time or another.  So if you are stuck in your grief, reach out for support.  Pray to your God or whatever name you choose to give to the One who is so much more than human.  Just remember that you are NOT alone.

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