"....Your children shall be like olive plants all around your table." Psalm 128:3

Thursday, July 17, 2014

The 7 Stages of Grief

Dear friends,

Since my Dad's recent Homecall, I have learned about the 7 Stages of Grief. I had heard something about these stages years ago, but never paid much attention. Until my Dad passed away.

About a week after my Dad's funeral, I decided to check it out and see if I am grieving "normally", by the standards of this website anyway.

 Stage one is shock and denial.
Ok, I was shocked when Dad went Home, even though the doctors tried to prepare us for the inevitable. But how do you prepare to tell your Dad good-bye? Maybe my mind was trying to protect me from the reality of it. And, almost 5 weeks later, the shock still hasn't worn off.

As far as denial, I am pretty sure that I am still in that stage. I just got home from visiting my Mom 30 minutes ago. And as I sat talking with her in the family room, I almost expected Dad to coming walking in from the kitchen after filling up his iced tea mug, even though I had just been in tears a few minutes before after seeing Dad's watch  on his table beside his recliner. And knowing he will never wear that watch again. I just can't seem to reconcile myself to the fact that he is gone. So yes, denial is my friend right now. It's helping me deal with all this.

Stage two is pain and guilt.
Oh, yes, the pain is horrific; physical pain, I mean. I am not sure where it comes from, but it is definitely real. The website says to "fully experience the pain, and not hide." Looks like I am right on track with this one because, believe me, I am doing that very thing. No hiding or repressing it here!

Guilt? Well, I can honestly say, I haven't experienced guilt - yet. Maybe that will come later. But I look back with wonderful memories of my Dad. And near the end of his earthly days, all the time I spent with him at his appointments and at the hospital; I am so thankful for all those special moments together.

Stage three is anger and bargaining.
I confess that I have been angry at some of the doctors at the hospital. As soon as my Dad was diagnosed with sepsis, he should have been started on Flagyl, the antibiotic specifically for sepsis.
But he wasn't given Flagyl until he was admitted to ICU. By then, he had already been exhibiting septic shock symptoms for 24 hours. Plain and simple, it was just too late.
 I have been told that I can't keep thinking about the "what ifs".
I know that. It was Dad's time to go and there was nothing I or anyone else could have done to stop it.
After 5 weeks, most of the anger has gone; I know that the Lord took Dad when it was his time to go, and it was His will to take Him. 

Bargaining. Well, there hasn't been any bargaining.
Dad can't come back, and even if he could, he wouldn't want to.
Why would he want to put on his sickly body and come back to this earth with all the sorrow and horrible things that are going on?
Nope...no bargaining.

Stage four is depression, reflection, and loneliness.
I am not really depressed. Just plain sad. Empty.
 Hollow inside.

I am doing alot of reflecting...starting with childhood memories and continuing to just before he passed. So many wonderful memories, but they are all a reminder that there will be no more memory-making with Dad. Then the sadness begins all over again.

Loneliness...yes, especially when I visit Mom. At her house, I am surrounded by Dad's things. He was a cabinet maker and wood worker. His beautiful furniture is in every room. His handmade frames are on the walls. He. is. everywhere.  Even though my Mom has been inundated with visits from all of us and other family members and friends, it is still lonely there. He absence can be felt physically. And when we have all gone home, I can't even begin to imagine how lonely Mom is without him.

Stage five is the upward turn, when I am supposed to be adjusting to life without Dad. Seriously??
When does this stage kick in??
Hopefully soon.

Stage six is reconstruction and working through.
Reconstructing my life without my Dad...well, I am not sure if that will happen any time this year.
The grief is still very raw, and certain reminders of him can start the tears flowing. And I turn into a basket case.

Stage seven is acceptance and hope.
Just when I think I have accepted his passing, something happens and I get thrown back into stage one again.

And hope? Well, my hope can only come from the fact that Dad was a Christian and I know that he is with the Lord right now. I have always had that hope....even while we were in the ICU with Dad, weeping and telling him goodbye (for now), and then watching him step into Heaven.
Without this hope, I would have nothing...and to know that I will see Dad again is such a wonderful comfort.

So from the looks of it, at any given time, I am apparently in several stages of grief at once. And I sometimes even bounce back to a previous stage. I have come to realize that there is no "normal" way to grieve.
The Lord created us all differently; so we will all grieve differently.
I hope this post is a help to others who might be grieving at this time.

 He is "the Father of mercies and God of all comfort"  (2 Corinthians 1:3)

Have a blessed day, friends.