Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Wednesday's Woe - Early Days of Grief... Compared to "The Rest of the Story..."

Wednesday's Woe

Early Days of Grief...

Compared to

"The Rest of the Story..."

In the early days of grief, yes, emotions are utterly raw. Utterly and agonizingly raw. Yet as devastating as those paroxysms of utter grief, there are saving gifts that come with the body/soul/heart/mind/spirit thrown into trauma.

One gift is the "shock factor": A loss so horrendous as the loss of your own child just cannot sink in totally in the short-term, so there can be an intermittent peace between the raw agonies of the glimpses your heart and mind allow you of your devastating reality. So we find that we adeptly (somehow) can plan a funeral or a memorial for our child, down to every meaningful detail, engaging with many people who come to visit, going through a rigorous face-to-face line of receiving friends just days after receiving the worst news of our lives that will change our lives forever. We find ways to receive comfort and give comfort to one another. After some time, we even find some strength to go back to work doing what we've done for most of our adult lives, at least part-time anyway.

What we don't realize cognitively in those early days is that along with the trauma of losing your child come the body's natural defense mechanisms. One is the outpouring of the body's own opiates to soothe the traumatized system. One premier trauma therapist describes it as if we are almost as numbed as a drug addict with the number of opiates we have swimming through our system. Another chemical defense mechanism sent to us within our body's autonomic nervous system is the stress hormone, cortisol that helps the body prepare for danger by sending us into the necessary fight-flight-or freeze states.

What you don't know early on is that ultimately those chemicals and that "shock factor" will wear out and dissipate, throwing you into withdrawals almost as shocking as those of a drug addict's and quite possibly into a full-blown Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome or Disorder.

In the early days, there are also God's gifts of grace in helping you as you come face to face with your stark loss by giving you a glimpse of the bigger picture long-term, that yes, your child is in Heaven, safe with Him, so you know that she is okay and at peace! Thus such supernatural assurance seems to leave you with only the task of grieving through the terrible agony of losing your precious child. And since you are the parent, it seems then that grief should be fairly achievable because the bottom-line is, your child is safe in God's hands, and you as the adult can take the parent's role of bearing with the repercussions of having to be away from her.

The downside is ~ THAT gift of peace is a grace given to you early on, but it has to be worked out little piece by little piece over the long haul. And THAT is where the devil really is in the details, in a way you would have NO IDEA is coming when you are early on in your grief, as you are engulfed in the Lord's arms and in the arms of all those who come alongside to listen, cry with you, and hold you. And that "working out the devastating details" over time, little bit by little agonizing bit, ladies and gentleman, I'm sure Paul Harvey would say... is "THE REST OF THE STORY..."

Picture thanks to Photobucket.com


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