Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Take Time to Grieve

"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: ... a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance" (Ecclesiastes 3:1-4).

In the aftermath of terrible tragedies—be they our own or a nation’s—we cannot ignore or hurry grief.

Grief is a complex process that takes many forms. When a mass tragedy occurs, not only do we grieve for the victims, but we also re-grieve from previous losses we’ve suffered. And when a parent dies, we grieve the past that dies, too. When a spouse dies, the present disappears. A child who dies takes a parent’s future with him.

Some say that the passage of time is the great emotional healer. In fact, it’s what you do with that time that is important.

When my mother suddenly passed away in 1975 at age 48, I wanted to be brave. I knew Mom would not want me to be sad, so I did not even go to Hong Kong for her funeral. I focused on completing my studies at Berkeley. After all, that's our plan. Mom wanted me to be successful in a new world, and I dreamed of one day buying her a big house and traveling with her around the world. I tried to move on, but part of me died with her. It was years later when I finally took time to grieve my loss.

The Feelings
During grief it is common to have many conflicting feelings: sorrow, anger, loneliness, anxiety, even guilt. Experiencing waves of these strong and often confusing emotions can make us feel out of control. In an attempt to regain a sense of control, we may deny the feelings.