Death is a normal part of life, yet the loss of a close friend or family member causes a wide range of emotions. Last year my father passed away and I was face-to-face with grief that I am still dealing with today. Kubler-Ross called this wide range the “5 Stages of Grief”. When dealing with grief, most people go through the following stages:
1.) Denial – “This can’t be happening to me”. Often our first response when we hear about the passing of a loved one is denial. Sometimes we think the people in our life are indestructible, until they die. When my father passed I still expected to see him walk through the door as I was still in denial.
2.) Anger – “Why is this happening to me?”. Some people get so upset at the loss of a loved one that they are angry at God and some even question the existence or motive of God. This happened to my uncle once his sister unexpectedly in a car wreck.
3.) Bargaining – “Make this go away and I’ll do anything”. We begin to think there is something we could have done to change the situation but the truth of the matter is everybody has an appointed day (Hebrews 9:27) and there is nothing we can do to change it.
4.) Depression – “I’m too sad too sad to do anything”. When loved ones die, it seems we just can’t move on. The sadness can lead people to cut off communication with others. Some can’t get out of the bed or leave the house.
5.) Acceptance – “I’m at peace with what happened”. This final stage happens at different points individually, no one can tell you how long to grieve.
Some people try to avoid the pain that comes with the death of a loved one, but remember grieving is a process with no defined time limit. Your life is changed with the loss of a loved one and although grief is painful, it is necessary.
Understanding how stress can take a toll on us physically, emotionally, and spiritually, we need to understand practical guidelines to ease the process. Physically, this includes taking care of our bodies with eating properly and getting enough rest. Emotionally, we need to spend time around other loved ones. Spiritually, we must pray and seek God, even in grief.
Even Jesus dealt with grief when his friend Lazarus died (John 11:5). This death caused Jesus to experience real human emotion, the kind we go through as well. It’s okay to cry for your deceased loved one. God will provide with you with much comfort (Matthew 5:4). The death of a loved one causes stress that only God can remedy (Psalms 55:22).
Although it may feel like it’s the end of the world when we experience grief, there is hope for a brighter day. Psalms 30:5 “For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.”
No matter what happens in life, you can move on, although it may seem impossible, all things are possible with God (Mark 9:23). Dealing with grief is a process that may take time, hold on keeping the faith and God will deliver you from all your burdens.