I'm sorry for your loss: accepting loss and understanding how grief comes in many forms
Noun. Deep sorrow, especially that caused by someone’s death.
We understand that grief comes when a loved one passes away. Tragically, expectedly, unexpectedly. However it came, we experienced a loss from someone we had a deep connection with. Surprisingly though, grief does not come just from death. It comes from a lost. That lost could be a loss of a friendship, a relationship, a job, a house, or a prized possession. When one loses something or someone they shared a deep connection with, it is okay for them to grieve.
Throughout my life, I consciously and unconsciously grieved a lot of things. I grieved for the very first time when I was seven years old. I lost my aunt and five cousins in a tragic car accidents. Try burying six people at one time...unimaginable. I was so young, so the effects of their death came in seasons. I consciously grieved the loss of many important people in my life: my high school friend Sarah, my Uncle Paps, my Aunt Dot, Min. Smith, and so many more. I unconsciously grieved the friends I lost. People I imagined to be in my life forever. The pain that comes with grieving does not go away overnight. Grief has a habit of lingering in an unpleasant way like the smell of cigarette smoke on the jacket of a smoker. No matter how much they spray cologne, place mints in their mouth, or air out their clothes - that smoke doesn’t go away until they stop. With grief, it lingers for periods of time. People try to smile, involved themselves with activities, or surround themselves with loved ones just to keep themselves busy and mask their emotions. But through all of that, their grief still lingers.
Grief comes in stages.
Shock and Disbelief - you’re just trying to wrap your head around the idea that there is lost. You hear the news, you experience the reality of it, but you just cannot believe it's happening.
Denial - you are having a difficult time understanding the loss and accepting the loss for what it is. People can be in denial for a long time if they choose.
Guilt - you start regretting or thinking about ways things could have been better before the loss. What could you have done differently or better before the loss.
Anger and Bargaining - your emotions evolves into frustration and anger. You are truly asking yourself “why”. Bargaining requires one to reflect on the past and find ways to turn the situation around.
Depression, Loneliness, Reflection - you may experience deep desires to be alone, feel overwhelmed and deeply saddened at this moment. But through this isolation, you find time to reflect.
Reconstruction and Working Through - you may still have an overwhelming amount of emotions, but you are starting to view life through a clearer lense where you’re able to start working on a new normal.
Acceptance - this is the final stage. You begin to feel “ok” again. You are able to discuss them, laugh about them, and reflect on the good times without an immense amount of pain hitting you in your chest.
Through the stages, the ultimate goal is to find peace through a safe space and a safe community that allows you to feel, go through these stages, and support you once you make it to the other side.
Everyone’s level of grief comes in different ways. You may experience guilt before you experienced the feelings of being shocked. The goal here is to know that God is here with you through it all. I know what it is like to question God, get angry with God, and run away from his presence because you just don’t understand. I pray that when you get to the acceptance stage, you are able to accept God back into your heart as your savior, your healer, and your companion through this journey.
Once an addict quits smoking and change their life around, the smell of smoke will eventually go away. However, an addict has something called triggers. When they feel triggered, they get an urge to smoke, but they have to fight to resist it; fight to stay clean. With grief, we can be healed and still in the acceptance phase, but have moments where depression or pain or guilt may sneak up. So when you feel triggered and get the urge to slip into depression, guilt, or anger - use coping skills to resist the urge, fight the pain, and simply get help. See the link below to tap into some great coping skills: https://www.lifeline.org.au/static/uploads/files/coping-with-sorrow-loss-and-grief-wfcexsgmkxay.pdf
“It is impossible for you to go on as you were before, so you must go on as you never have” - Cheryl Strayed.