Good Grief: Death and Dying

When I was in college, I took a class called, On Death and Dying, based on a book by Elizabeth Kubler Ross.  It was interesting but I dreaded actually experiencing heart-breaking loss. Losing an animal was always tough but I knew I needed to understand good grief when it came to death and dying.When I was in college, I took a class called, On Death and Dying, based on a book by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross.  It was interesting but I dreaded actually experiencing heart-breaking loss. Losing an animal was always tough but I knew I needed to understand good grief when it came to death and dying.
With respect to that time, there are moments when God gives us some sign of levity that things will be okay. I experienced several  “anointed” moments in those low times.
Recently, Thomas and I attended the funeral/memorial service of a wonderful servant.  It truly was a celebration of a “life well lived” but l a death too soon. Still, this is the type of “send-off” we all pray for.
We had to arrive very early. As folks entered the sanctuary, there was much conversation. People were respectful and visited in low tones.  I good friend of mind sat behind us and I grabbed her arm.  I periodically reached back and patted her leg.  After the third series of patting, I realized to my horror that the leg I was touching was not my friend’s leg but that of a strange man.  I immediately apologized but every time we stood to sing, I felt the stares of his “significant other” through my back.
It was a moment that made my pew laugh and have levity that we all needed.  It was that special time when our hearts needed something to chuckle about.
When those sad times of loss come, learn difference between healthy and unhealthy grief. Don’t be consumed by a spirit of grief; seek the help of a wonderful counselor as I did. I learned emotional cycles and that it takes two years to be comfortable with living with loss.
Loss is never a delightful journey but it can be made easier with the right resources and time spent with a great counselor.
One of the best insights was reading an unusual letter from a great book entitled, “Life After Loss.”  There was a chapter  with a letter written to Grief and Grief’s response.   I will never forget the honest words written as Grief explained how important it is to experience the process so the outcome can be a healthier experience.
I do believe in all things we experience in life, the healthiest direction is to always be able to laugh at ourselves.  This is a giant step to understand the healing power of humor in both life and death. Do yourself a favor and look for book on grief or visit with a counselor who can guide you to a healthy place.
 
 

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