On January 10, 2007 my Dad passed away. I was sad at his passing, but happy that he made his transition from this life into the next. A new chapter was started as the pages of that journey began. I have heard and believe that funeral’s and cemetery’s are not for the dead, but for the living.
At these junctures in time, the living are confronted with various opportunities.
Life takes on new meaning and a myriad of emotions and questions arise. As I mentioned in the about me section, I have provided service to families with in both the cemetery and funeral business. As a counselor I helped families and individuals address the topic of grief and grieving. In my book, Table Topics for the Soul — Journey to the Heart LC registration # TXu1-330-434, I wrote a section on Grief. I will share this below.
I have worked in both the funeral and cemetery industries. In these capacities, I have helped many families address the topic of loss. The loss of a loved one is significant and often difficult to endure. Grieving such a loss is imperative to maintaining one’s mental health. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, in her book On Death and Dying, states that there are 5 stages in the grieving process: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance.
Denial initially minimizes and even ignores reality. Anger then evolves as the cloud parts to reveal what has occurred. Bargaining then elicits the, “what if, the should of, would of, and could of” messages in an attempt to change what has happened. When the individual realizes this “debating” will not change what has occurred (the finality of the loss), a sense of helplessness evolves into depression. With time and support, this depression begins to lift and a degree of acceptance is gained. Acceptance helps the individual to make peace in the face of that loss.
It should be noted that once the individual has begun to grieve, there might be movement back and forth through the five stages. Confronting denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance at different times during the grieving process is completely normal. Through my experience working with families, I have found that it is essential for those individuals to continue processing the loss (through writing and talking with trusted friends) until the person is completely “talked out”. Isolating oneself during this time is not recommended. It should also be noted that, in the event, that the grieving individual finds themselves unable to work through one of more of these stages, professional help might be needed.
Loss is also experienced on many other fronts throughout one’s life. Sometimes, the pain from a lose remains repressed, for months or even years, until another similar event triggers the pain that had been festering. I have found that it is only after the original pain is grieved that healing can begin. Although repression, like denial, may have served to protect the individual’s emotional or physical well-being, continued minimization only tends to undermine resolution.
In reality, when I experience pain related to that loss, I am given an opportunity to find a new freedom. Through actively participating in my own healing process, I lessen the need to use defense mechanisms to protect myself. I am then able to bridge or anchor my present loss, to the repressed lose. As I am able to connect both loses; I am able to resolve the original pain so that the original pain no longer has to impede my present well-being.
This reality gives me strong encouragement as I discover loss’s that may have been buried for years. Therefore, I no longer need to repress or deny their impact. This reality also gives me hope when the inevitable occurs and I uncover pain that has been suppressed or repressed. I now have a solution that will allow me to own that pain and thus grieve any loss.
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