Author: Lori Apon
Category: Grief: Types of loss WidowLife Wisdom
When loss comes, grief is born. It is unavoidable. The phases of grief are an individual experience, although together everyone will feel the pain of missing a loved one. It’s the price loved ones pay!
Shock and denial put us in a safe place, an emotional coma, that protects us from the realities of the hard work ahead. We function as if nothing happened. In fact, it is here we are determined to beat the odds with plans to wrap grief up in a box with a pretty bow sooner than later…by the end of the week, please! But this is just not possible.
When this numbing anesthesia starts to fade away, grief grows, and the pain of giving birth to reality is almost more than we can handle. Oh, we don’t like change, especially the change of life without the one we loved!
The transition from wife to widow and fathered to fatherless takes time. It is a lonely journey with loss upon loss, misconceptions, and misunderstandings. We wonder how in the world grief continues to grow more intense and takes us to a darker spot the second year (although not for everyone), and yet, more often than not, it does.
Just like a child, there are bumps in the road (triggers) and stages of development. A baby will not mature into an adult overnight and neither will grief grow up and move out in a short period of time.
When a widow and child experience loss at the same time, often the mother’s grief will decrease over time while the grief for the child increases. Initially, the mom is carrying not only her own grief but also that of her child. She must be careful not to put too much in the emotional “suitcase” of their heart. Children are children and life will continue many times as if nothing happened. Don’t be alarmed by this or feel relieved that grief passed them by. Undoubtedly, it will spring forth in the future.
Children grow into grief. Of course, they will feel the absence of the missing parent; however, they do not have the capability to understand the impact their loss will have over time. Grief is dormant and will blossom at certain milestones (birthdays, graduations, weddings).
What to expect as grief grows:
- It is normal for grief to grow before it leaves the home of your heart.
- You can’t hurry grief, just as you cannot speed up maturity. It takes time.
- God is faithful to guide us as a shepherd in the process.
- The tender soil of a grieving heart allows for God to work. Grief brings us to a crisis of faith which is not a bad thing.
- As grief grows, so do we. Loss has a way of transforming us into a different person. Change is not comfortable but can be what we need the most.