In today’s society of disposable everything and make believe reality, it is no wonder that people assume that grief is disposable too. I assure you, it is not. Life is not a video game, and love is not without a price. It has been said, “Grief is the price we pay for love.” (Queen Elizabeth II) This is a true statement. If you love someone with all your heart and soul when death comes, prepare to pay for it with all your heart and through the deepest depths of your soul. At that moment, and through the days, weeks, months, and years to follow, you will begin to understand what “I love you with all my heart, mind, and soul,” truly means.
Dr. Kubler-Ross designated five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.
Denial acts as a buffer toward the reality that death has occurred. It allows a survivor to get through the initial shock of death and allows him/her to mobilize their defenses to begin recovery. Quite often, a person in denial may act unfeeling or juvenile. A person in denial has not yet felt the full depth of pain that accompanies death.
Anger allows the survivor to realize the full force of their emotions. Anger is as powerful as love and can replace it if the survivor does not successfully move through this stage of grief. The survivor may direct their anger toward the decedent, toward another person or persons, or toward an entity. These are all normal and acceptable transferences; one should be mindful, however, that the survivor is not directing their anger toward a child. Also, a survivor who transfers their anger upon him/herself is in danger of extreme recovery complications; they may even become suicidal.
Bargaining is an attempt to postpone or exchange the guilt or pain associated with death. A survivor may think that if they had done something differently, or if they had changed their behavior, death may not have come, or their pain may not be so intense. In order to avoid these feelings, a survivor may begin to bargain with Deity or themselves to rectify their past by changing their future. A survivor may become a better person or adopt an apologetic attitude. Less desirable adjustments made by survivors are self-destructive behaviors and adjustments to their physical and emotional health. In other words, one may develop physical or emotional pain to mask or delay the pain of grief. A migraine may keep grief at bay, but prolonged migraines may cause other ailments to one's health.
Depression prepares one for acceptance. It is the initial realization that death is permanent and that the loved one will never return. It brings with it the fullness of sadness. It is the sting of reality. A survivor may begin drinking alcohol or self-medicating with drugs. They may exhibit sleep disturbances, including extreme nightmares, insomnia or excessive sleeping. They may not feel there is any reason to continue living or trying to recover from the nightmare in which they now live. They may have difficulties concentrating, performing at their normal level of competence, maintaining an active lifestyle or controlling outbursts of tears.
Acceptance is the thankful light at the end of the grief tunnel. It is the beginning of the end of grief’s painful struggle. It is the point at which the survivor reconciles the past and progresses into the future. What was just yesterday a painful death, now becomes a loving memory. It is where life begins to improve, and one feels as though they can draw breath without fear of excruciating pain at every turn. It is the return of renewed hope.
When one has engaged in a loving relationship for an extended period of time, one should not expect that the reset on their loss will be instantaneous. If you have truly loved through the depths of your soul and to the bottom of your heart, recovery may be long suffering. If love were trivial, so too would be recovery. As Queen Elizabeth II stated “Grief is the price we pay for love.” Grief is not trivial.
True love is priceless. Priceless love demands an epic ransom.
My name is Tracy Renee Lee. I am the owner and Managing Funeral Director at Queen City Funeral Home in Queen City Texas. I am an author, syndicated columnist, and co-founder of Heaven Sent, Corp. I write books and weekly bereavement articles related to understanding and coping with grief. I am the American Funeral Director of the Year Runner-Up and recipient of the BBB’s Integrity Award. I deliver powerful messages and motivate audiences toward positive recovery. It is my life's work to comfort the bereaved and help them live on.
For additional encouragement, read other articles or watch video “Grief Briefs”, please go to my web-site at www.MourningCoffee.com.