Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Stages of Grief

This is not a football topic, its time to move on to some real-life issues. I, as well as my family and community, are going through the stages of grief with the loss of Kate. They are strange and unpredictable. Sadness, wonder, questions, anger, acceptance etc. etc. We are going through these stages sometimes separately, sometimes all at once. I'm not a big fan of "stages" of anything in regards to human beings. Life and people rarely operate according to scientific accuracy and contexts change the rules to anything. But there are some generalities that can be noted. Here are some examples:

Probably the most well-known of these might be from Elizabeth Kubler-Ross' book, "On Death and Dying." In it, she identified five stages that a dying patient experiences when informed of their terminal prognosis.
The stages Kubler-Ross identified are:

Denial (this isn't happening to me!)

Anger (why is this happening to me?)

Bargaining (I promise I'll be a better person if...)

Depression (I don't care anymore)

Acceptance (I'm ready for whatever comes)

A lesser known definition of the stages of grief is described by Dr. Roberta Temes in the book, "Living With An Empty Chair - a guide through grief." Temes describes three particular types of behavior exhibited by those suffering from grief and loss. They are:

Numbness (mechanical functioning and social insulation)

Disorganization (intensely painful feelings of loss)

Reorganization (re-entry into a more 'normal' social life.)

I'm not a therapist and I have done very little study in the area of grief counseling outside of the basics. I know that the Scriptures include examples of every stage of grief, including rage and anger (not normally associated with good Christians). I know that our world is broken and that grief is a paralyzing part of it.

While at the gravesite for Kate, I was overwhelmed with a hatred of death. I hate death, I oppose its forces. Darkness at times covers this earth and I'm in rebellion against it. The Kingdom reality is one of light and life. The Kingdom has come and the Kingdom is coming in its fullness. As a follower of Christ, I have a role of calling back the darkness in my community and proclaiming life. Death and darkness is our enemy, we fight the stench with relationships of hope and words of life. Resurrection is our identity, we are the people of God.

I grieve, but I hope. I mourn, but I fight for life today. I recognize darkness, but I call it back in the name of and for the sake of Christ and one another.

peace to you and your house today,

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