The Journey of Grief

 In Tori Smith

On May 26, I lost my faithful companion, Daniel.  For those of you who don’t know, Daniel was my almost 13-year-old cocker spaniel. Although, technically, he was a Christmas present for my husband, Roland, he was my puppy from the very beginning.  Daniel had a quiet but deeply loving spirit. For these last 12 years he has been with me through Roland’s death, the loss of Hannah (our other cocker spaniel), the kids moving in and the, at times, trying adjustments to that expanded family.  Daniel brought comfort, acceptance, laughter – and just pure joy! I know so many of you understand this feeling of loss. Since losing him I have been sleeping with this very cute, but stuffed cocker.  On the positive side, it doesn’t snore. On the negative side it doesn’t snore and the nights are still incredibly loud with the silence. I understand what I’m experiencing is grief.  And I know, of all things in a lifetime, grief is one experience we all share.  This is why I chose this topic.  We all experience grief. 

We can grieve over the loss of many things – loss of a loved one, our health, a job, friends, children through death or just moving away, heirlooms, independence, driving privileges, finances…. the list can go on and on.  Death, fire and natural disasters, and separation by time and location can all cause grief. When we experience a loss, either major or minor, we begin a journey that we cannot and should not avoid.  How we choose to make that journey makes all the difference in the world.  Grieving is natural.  It’s even healthy. Someone or something has been taken from us creating a void that cannot be filled.  That void should not be filled as though the relationship never happened.  Even in the case of a meaningful heirloom, though we don’t have a personal relationship with it, losing it creates a void never to be filled.  Grieving may, at times, even follow positive or happy changes. When children leave for college, for example, and your left with empty rooms and the realization that you can never recreate the family unit you had when they were in elementary school. 

Grieving is the process that we go through to heal from losses in our lives.  Authors, wiser than I, suggest and define different stages of grief. Dr. Kubler-Ross suggested a Five Stages of Grief model: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance.  She later refined and expanded the five stages to suggest a more in-depth grieving model of seven steps – 1) Shock & Denial; 2) Pain & Guilt; 3) Anger & Bargaining; 4) Depression, Reflection & Loneliness; 5) The Upward Turn, 6) Reconstruction – Working Through; and 7) Acceptance & Hope.  The journey is the same no matter the model.  Grieving is painful! 

Though I didn’t plan on mentioning our Stephen Ministry when I first started this blog, I think it relevant and important to remind you of this meaningful resource.  Our Stephen Ministers are trained to walk with us through this sometimes long, but always-painful process of losing the people/pets/things that are at the heart of our love.  If you are grieving, know that our Stephen Ministers are here for you. 

If you are grieving for any reason – I want you to hear these words from the Gospel of Mathew;  “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”  — Matthew 5:4, ESV. We have such an awesome God who loves us so deeply and understands us so completely – He alone has the power to comfort us in the depth of our pain.  As always my encouragement, my direction for you is to reach up to the ONE who is reaching down to you and allow Him to heal you through this life.

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  • Donna K Boval

    Thank you Tori!

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