I sent this to a good friend who is Angry, Frustrated, Hurt, Sad and some what lost right now. Anger at the world, at Fate, at whatever God is present in our lives. This person is almost 80 years old, but his son who was in his late 40’s died abruptly due to medical complications.

“Remember losing your son was a major stress, shock, sadness so it will take time and yet never be totally resolved. In situations like that, one goes through Kubler-Ross’ DABDA stages (Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance) but paced oddly, randomly at times.

-The Denial is the first part where you can’t really believe you got the call, and you start thinking it might be a bad dream and you’ll wake up and all is OK. Even at the funerals there is a bit of denial when folks say the person ‘looks like they are just sleeping’. And in situations where you don’t live with the person nor see them daily/weekly, there are many times down the road, when you think of them and think “I’ll call them later this week” or “I’ll see them for the holidays” then you realize… No, it won’t be happening.

– The Anger stage usually lasts somewhat forever in death situations of our children. We stay Angry at the world, at god, at idiots who are alive and fine – while your child is gone. Anger at being mortal and not being able to have controlled or prevented the situation.

-Bargaining comes in various forms:  special prayers; special dinners or meals in the honor of the child; gifts to charities in their name; and many more options. Bargaining then is a way of keeping the memory of them alive and honoring them.

-Depression stage is the ongoing sad moments when you realize they are gone that will occur at random times for the rest of your life. Those moments are often at quiet or low moments in your life when you think about them ‘out of the blue’. It is also a time when folks some times feel they are going crazy because they start to choke up, tear up, or out right cry ‘out of the blue’ but not really, because that ‘out of the blue’ is just pent up feelings inside that haven’t been processed yet. So it is not really unexpected, but rather emotions that are normal, and have to be felt, and processed.

-Acceptance stage is a hard one in these cases. You never can totally be comfortable with the loss but recognize there is the emptiness that will not be filled again. Accept that the loss is a reality, that you have the right to be sad and miss them, and that we don’t always understand why these things happen. And that you accept that your current life has to go on, you have to deal with ‘today’ and those who are alive in your life now – and the memory or energy of the person you lost becomes part of you and you honor them by moving forward and at times sharing a bit of them with the world.

Rough, sad and difficult time. Sorry friend.”

jg