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Living Through Grief by Harold Bauman – An Extract

Living Through Grief by Harold Bauman – An Extract

(With kind permission received from Lion Publishing Co. UK in July 2000)

When grief overtakes us, the ‘valley of the shadow’ seems very dark and almost endless. Whatever your loss, this little book is written to help you to understand and bear your grief, and to know that it can be healed. It shares the special comfort and resources the Christian faith offers. It points the way to healing and hope.
The six stages of grief :

·       Stage One : Shock
If death follows a prolonged illness or comes as a result of old age, the shock to the family is not nearly so severe, although it is still there. Anticipating the loss, we move part way through the grief experience before the death comes. But when death comes, the loss is still real and still a shock. The bereaved person wants to talk about the one who has died, to express grief, to accept the ‘rightness’ of grief feelings. He or she needs to find a good listener.  

·       Stage Two : Numbness
We feel as though we are partially under anaesthesia. Things do not seem real. We walk around in a daze, unable to think clearly. This is not the time to probe for deep theological answers regarding what has happened. Rather, we can affirm that the loss is a heavy burden, a deep grief, and brings genuine suffering.

·       Stage Three : Fantasy and Guilt
This stage is difficult. There is deep emotional attachment to the one who has died. There are experiences associated with his or her memory. During this period there may be some guilt feelings. The grieving person may say, “If only we had tried a different doctor.” Or ‘If only we had taken her to another hospital, then it would not have happened.’ Guilt feelings like these are also a normal part of the grief process.

·       Stage Four : Release of Grief
A sorrowing person should not try to hold back his or her emotions. This does not mean becoming hysterical or losing control. It means that to shed tears is a normal and often necessary part of the healing process. It helps us accept what has happened to the loved one.

·       Stage Five : Painful Memories
We go to church, and the seat beside us is vacant. We walk down the street and see someone who was a close friend of the loved one. Pain strikes again. These memories have to be recognized and accepted.
We need to find someone who will share and listen in a sympathetic and understanding way to our grief. It is healthy to talk openly about our grief from time to time over a period of weeks. It is healthy to express our feelings. This is one way to work it through.  

·       Stage Six : Learning to Live Again
When the loss has been accepted, the grief has been spent, and the memories no longer bring unbearable pain, then we can experience a new life.

Accepting Death
We need to realize that death does come. It is not a mistake. Death comes because we are part of an earthly order in which bodies get old and die. The physical body of the person we loved is now cold and we suffer loss and grief. But if that person entrusted the future to God, then we can know that he or she is with him.


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