Monday, February 15, 2010
Death and grief
Last couple of weeks have been rough for Amber and Chryssa. Amber lost her beloved grandma on February 5th and Chryssa lost a beloved friend on February 10th...
There are 5 stages of grief, as follows from essortment.com.
1-Denial-"this can't be happening to me", looking for the former spouse in familiar places, or if it is death, setting the table for the person or acting as if they are still in living there. No crying. Not accepting or even acknowledging the loss.
2-Anger-"why me?", feelings of wanting to fight back or get even with spouse of divorce, for death, anger at the deceased, blaming them for leaving.
3-Bargaining-bargaining often takes place before the loss. Attempting to make deals with the spouse who is leaving, or attempting to make deals with God to stop or change the loss. Begging, wishing, praying for them to come back.
4-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. Perhaps feeling suicidal.
5-Acceptance-there is a difference between resignation and acceptance. You have to accept the loss, not just try to bear it quietly. Realization that it takes two to make or break a marriage. Realization that the person is gone (in death) that it is not their fault, they didn't leave you on purpose. (even in cases of suicide, often the deceased person, was not in their right frame of mind) Finding the good that can come out of the pain of loss, finding comfort and healing. Our goals turn toward personal growth. Stay with fond memories of person.
Get help. You will survive. You will heal, even if you cannot believe that now, just know that it is true. To feel pain after loss is normal. It proves that we are alive, human. But we can't stop living. We have to become stronger, while not shutting off our feelings for the hope of one day being healed and finding love and/or happiness again. Helping others through something we have experienced is a wonderful way to facilitate our healing and bring good out of something tragic.
At least those are the "psychological" stages. My grief runs a bit different.
1. Over-emotional sobbing, doing the whole "ugly cry" thing.
2. Avoidance with a touch of Depression - busy work, keeping busy to keep my mind off of it. Well that's not entirely true, to process it. I also hide in my room under my covers and sleep. A lot.
3. Translation - I think in medical terms, as well as biblical. I can combine the two and know that A) I know what happened to their physical body and B) I have faith that they are in a better place and I will see them again.
4. Acceptance - it's harder than fuck, but there is nothing that I can do or could have done to make the outcome different, and it can't be undone.
My grandmother died suddenly and unexpectedly. She had been sick this summer, kidney failure and crap, but she had mended from that beautifully. She was able to drive herself to and from dialysis on her scheduled days, she was up and around more than she was even last spring. I am thankful she didn't suffer, it was quick. She was found at home, near her bed. I was able to go see her before she was taken to the funeral home, and her face was peaceful...serene. Whatever it was, it was quick. We did something different at the funeral than I think is normally done...but we aren't exactly anywhere close to normal! My aunt, mother and uncles as well as a few of us grandkids did the eulogy. We talked about grandma because no one was as touched by her life as greatly as we were. My mom and aunt read a couple of poems as well as a memory or two that had popped in their minds, my uncles stammered and spoke from the heart. I read a couple of passages of scripture, my youngest cousin remarked on how there was always a fight over grandma's chicken and noodles and bread pudding at thanksgiving! A couple of my other cousins spoke about how they loved her and will miss her. I believe that talking about her this way instead of having someone officiate it made it easier. As my mom put it (like me, she's not usually at a loss for words) "We should be the ones to send her off. She was ours." I know she would have loved being there with all of us and talking about and laughing at the memories! It seems the older we get, the more often it's only at weddings and funerals that we all get together. That's pretty sad. The best way I deal with grief, is to remember the person. Talk about them as often as I can, or hear stories about them. I loved it when my aunt, mom and uncles were sitting around shooting the shit about grandma! How mad they made her, their punishments.. How they got away with some of the things they had done. What showed the most was how much she loved them, and then each of us grandkids. Her love was fierce, you better not say anything negative about one of hers even if it was true. She was tiny, but she'd cut you off at the knees if she needed to..then ask if you wanted something to eat. :)
Finding this passage in the bible to read, gave me the most comfort in dealing with her death:
1 Corinthians 13:1-10,13
If I speak in the tongues of men and angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I posses to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails.
But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears.
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.