Grief: Not enough time

2018 seems to be quite rough for everyone I know. So much death, loss, and change. Lots of sad news stories, reminders of “how bad our city is”, and much more. With all of this, I wanted to talk about grief. When we think of grief, there are 5 classified stages. I’ll get to those in just a minute. Does it feel like, these days, you really don’t have time to grieve? We are expected to be strong and carry on with life as if the loss never happened. For those working the typical 9 to 5, you probably get maybe 3-5 days of bereavement? Then what? You’re expected to work at full capacity, otherwise you risk losing that job. Don’t get me wrong, it’s important to have income coming in and working definitely can help take your mind off of things when you’re in the low moments. But the expectation of being jolly and encouraging to others is quite a feat during this time period. Someone recently mentioned to me that their job has amazing bereavement support, varying from close relatives to family friends. They shared that you take days when you need them, which could range from 5 to 20 days. AND, get this, you don’t have to use them all at once! If you want to use some to do funeral planning and/or travel, but later have those “reflection moments” where you need a moment, you can feel free to do so. This should be standard or somewhat of a similar option everywhere. You can’t put a time limit on grief. Heaven forbid you have to be the one in charge of the funeral planning, contacting the insurance company, reaching out to everyone to keep them informed, gathering info and making the obituary, booking travel, following up with billing and accounts, having mail forwarded, just to name a few things. How on Earth is that possible in 3 days. When do you have a chance to reflect and express your true feelings? Also, what if you are coping well initially because you’re still in the Denial phase of grief but a few months later, you breakdown because all the emotions start flooding back and holidays are a big reminder of what’s currently not in front of you anymore. Christians often hear “you know they are in a better place” or “don’t be sad, just pray”. We shall indeed pray and remain close to God during this time, but let’s not forget that we are human and humans experience pain, hurt, and sorrow.

Here are the 5 stages of grief: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, & Acceptance. Many of us don’t get through all 5 stages in one week’s time. It may take a month, year, or several years to get to the stage of Acceptance. In some instances, people revert back through a stage when their thoughts take over and different life experiences pop up. Denial is when you really can’t believe that person is gone and may be that you refuse to believe it and go numb. I know I would say to myself “oh they are just sleeping” or “it’s not real”.

Anger can become a person’s or a family’s worse enemy. You are mad at the world and any action can set you off. Maybe you’re mad at yourself or even the person that left asking “why did you leave us like this?” or “why didn