Healing Through Grief

My tears started flowing at last Sunday’s Service, and several times since — in a Regional Meeting on Zoom, and then again with a friend. I am officially grieving the upcoming loss of Unity of South Bay and my sweet congregation! I know people will stay connected in various ways, and so will I, with many. Still, goodbyes are hard, no matter how positive one approaches them!

I will miss Sunday Services and my work in the office with Lynn. I will miss Board Meetings (believe it or not), and my time praying with the Chaplains. I will miss working with the Music Team to create music that relates to the lesson themes. I will miss teaching classes and hosting and attending parties. I will miss being with people through their challenging times and celebrating with them through their joyful ones. I will miss seeing Lupita with the children and I will remember gently pulling little Elizabeth’s curls.

There are so many memories that I can hardly begin to scratch the surface. And I feel deep compassion for those of you who have been in this church for decades! And those who have been here a shorter time as well, but have made this community your spiritual home.

Here are some tips I found online

“While grieving a loss is an inevitable part of life, there are ways to help cope with the pain, come to terms with your grief, and eventually, find a way to pick up the pieces and move on with your life.

  • Acknowledge your pain.
  • Accept that grief can trigger many different and unexpected emotions.
  • Understand that your grieving process will be unique to you.
  • Seek out face-to-face support from people who care about you.
  • Support yourself emotionally by taking care of yourself physically.
  • Recognize the difference between grief and depression.

The stages of grief

In 1969, psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross introduced what became known as the “five stages of grief.” These stages of grief were based on her studies of the feelings of patients facing terminal illness, but many people have generalized them to other types of negative life changes and losses, such as the death of a loved one or a break-up.

  1. Denial: “This can’t be happening to me.”
  2. Anger: “Why is this happening? Who is to blame?”
  3. Bargaining: “Make this not happen, and in return I will ____.”
  4. Depression: “I’m too sad to do anything.”
  5. Acceptance: “I’m at peace with what happened.”

If you are experiencing any of these emotions following a loss, it may help to know that your reaction is natural and that you’ll heal in time. However, not everyone who grieves goes through all of these stages — and that’s okay. Contrary to popular belief, you do not have to go through each stage in order to heal. In fact, some people resolve their grief without going through any of these stages. And if you do go through these stages of grief, you probably won’t experience them in neat, sequential order, so don’t worry about what you “should” be feeling or which stage you’re supposed to be in.

Kübler-Ross herself never intended for these stages to be a rigid framework that applies to everyone who mourns. In her last book before her death in 2004, she said of the five stages of grief: “They were never meant to help tuck messy emotions into neat packages. They are responses to loss that many people have, but there is not a typical response to loss, as there is no typical loss. Our grieving is as individual as our lives.”

May you remember self-care through times of transition and grief!

Love and blessings,
Kathy

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