Grieving Our Losses
Day 2- The Process of Grieving
Ruth P. McDonald
“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” (Psalm 147:3, ESV)
“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” (Psalm 73:26, ESV)
What color is grief? That’s an abstract question with answers that would vary from person to person. For me, the loss is black, but grief is gray. It’s somewhere between despair and hope. If hope is white and loss is black, then grief must be gray. It’s a time of processing, a time of big feelings and a lot of questions, a time of anger and disappointment mixed with uncertainty. How will I go forward? Will I ever experience peace and happiness again? For those of us who serve Christ, we must also see His hand in allowing it. And as we strain forward, hope links hands with our grief, hope that this season won’t last forever and that one day we will smile again and feel joy. We may even understand the “why.” But until then, we go through stages.
There aren’t necessarily rules to grief; we all experience it in different ways and in different time frames. But at the heart of grief there are some basic emotions that we generally share across the board. Counselors will lead you toward the five basic stages of grief:
Denial– I cannot believe this has actually happened
Anger– I am angry that this has happened
Bargaining– I would do anything if the outcome could change
Depression– I feel hopeless as I see my future in light of this loss
Acceptance– I can go on with my life in light of this loss
It seems unfair that the stages listed above take up so little real estate on this page, because from denial to acceptance, the endless waves of pain are missing. There isn’t room to incorporate the tears, the brokenness and the heartache that exist inside of deep losses. Sorrow seems too small a word, and life within these first stages seems almost impossible to navigate. And yet grieving is something we all face as we grow and mature; our lives are bound to be stricken by grief at some point. As sure as I’m writing this, with my own assortment of scars, I know I’ll face grief again.
With that in mind, how can we prepare for what’s ahead, for the moments that yank the solidness of the earth out from beneath our feet? Though we can’t fully prepare ourselves for the shock of what is sure to shatter our hearts in our tomorrows, there are some things we can do to lessen the impact. We can prepare ourselves by implanting God’s Word into our hearts and minds. We can invite Him into our good days, knowing His faithfulness will meet us in the seasons of loss and heartache.
Our God is a God of comfort. He longs to hold us close and carry us through our toughest days, the days we simply cannot move forward without Him. And so we must trust that when our life is touched by deep loss—and it will be—our God is the hope we need in that season to push us to take another step, and then yet another step, trusting and leaning on Him to bring good from the pain. We won’t always understand our “why’s” on earth. But one day, He will show us the whole picture and we will see the beauty that rises from the ashes of our grief. And for now, that has to be good enough.
Grieving Our Losses