Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Wednesday's Woe - Metamorphosis: The Need to Cocoon

Wednesday's Woe


The Need to Cocoon

The presence of that absence is everywhere.

~Edna St. Vincent Millay

Failure to mourn impairs a life. Most people's problems with mourning are not caused by compounded losses; their problems are caused by other people's desires to get mourning over with.

Family, friends, and medical staff want accommodation of the loss as quickly as possible. Only through mourning can we find a life on the other side of loss.

We need to grieve losses and find people who will accept that grieving. To grieve well is to value what you have lost.

~Arthur Frank At the Will of the Body

The simple fact is that what is considered abnormal or pathological in other losses is typical after the death of a child in the sense that it is experienced by the majority of bereaved parents.

Failure to delineate a new, more appropriate model of mourning and to determine what constitutes pathology within this group has resulted in the development of inappropriate and unrealistic expectations for bereaved parents, who cannot and must not be expected to have the same bereavement experiences as other mourners.

~Therese Rando, Treatment of Complicated Grief


The Need to Cocoon

Coming to understand that most of us bereaved parents will have the symptoms of "complicated grief" as a normal part of our grief to one degree or another, perhaps you will understand why we have felt the need to "cocoon." As bereaved parents of our precious Merry Katherine, we have needed to "hole-up" in the safety of our home to do a massive amount of grief work alone, together, and with our Lord...

It is hard work.

We feel like we are walking around with no skin on.

We cannot handle any additional stimuli to our already overburdened hearts.

Our belief-system has been attacked.

Our view of God has changed. (Of necessity, our view of God needs to be cleansed of some of the *pagan-infiltration we didn't even realize had seeped in until a tragedy as great as this occurred... And so, we must work hard to cull away the false, and to cling to the true that is of our Lord, for He is Truth.)

Our view of our very selves has changed.

Our view of our parenting has been challenged.

Our view of our career has been impacted.

So, our philosophy is that a natural part of grieving the death of a child is the need to cocoon into the safety of our chrysalis. In this chrysalis, it may "look" like nothing is happening... But inside, there is an enormous amount of energy being expended.

A tremendous amount of emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual energy is being expended to process through our losses - yes the loss of our child, but also the loss of many other facets of our lives as well.


Search: what happens inside a cocoon

Answer: Lots!

  1. When the caterpillar has eaten enough, it turns into a pupa. It stops eating, finds somewhere safe, and becomes very still. Pupa never eat and seldom move at all.
  2. It molts its skin the same as it does when growing, but instead of another larval skin, it secretes a thicker, stronger pupal skin. Generally, the pupa then breaks out of the old larval skin, though in many moths, the pupa remains inside the old larval skin. You can often find the remains of the caterpillar skin around the tail of a Butterfly pupa. {Some of the elements of the old life become part of the components of the "new normal"?!}
  3. A lot of the caterpillar's old body dies. It is attacked by the same sort of juices the caterpillar used in its earlier life to digest its food - it sort of digests itself from the inside out in a process called histolysis. Not all the tissue is destroyed, however; some of the old tissue passes on to the next stage.
  4. Special formative cells called histoblasts - until now dormant in the larval body - come into action. They form a new body out of the soupy mess that the digestive juices have made of the old caterpillar body. They do this using histogenesis, which is the same biochemical process that all insects use to turn food into part of their bodies. They make a new heart, new muscles, new digestive system - everything. {A new normal?!}
  5. During this whole time, the butterfly or moth can't excrete anything, so all the waste products accumulate. When it emerges from the chrysalis, it leaves behind a reddish-brown meconium that is made up of all the nitrogenous waste.

The Beautiful Glass-Wing Butterfly!

*See Frank Viola's book, Pagan Christianity

Search: what happens inside a cocoon
with highlights and {notes in parentheses} mine


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