A note from Kelly King: Today, Kaye Hurta begins a series of articles on the process of grief. I know you will look forward to these articles each Friday.
If you are grieving a loss of any kind today, may I say, “I am so sorry for the pain of your loss.” I say “if” but the truth is, I don’t think I know any one who isn’t experiencing the pain of some kind of loss in their lives. Notice I didn’t say, “I don’t know any one who isn’t grieving a loss?” There is a distinct difference between experiencing the pain of a loss and grieving that loss. Grieving losses in a healthy way will be our focus over the next several weeks.
There are two important truths about healthy grieving that are often dismissed or overlooked in our current culture:
1. You can’t rush the grieving process. Healthy grieving involves giving time and space to the grieving process. In some cultures, people visibly mourn for an entire year. The one who is grief stricken might wear a black arm band signifying their loss and as a sign of dignity, respect, and spiritual reflection. Scripture records the Jewish people tearing their garments and sitting in sackcloth and ashes. In our current culture, we give very little time and space to loss, and we certainly don’t encourage a “visible” expression of our grief past a “reasonable” time. In our microwave it, hurry up, multi-tasking, instant everything society, we have harmed one another by elevating those who “get over” their loss quickly. Which brings me to our second important truth…
2. You never “get over” your loss. We need to restate and reframe this idea of “getting over” our loss to “getting through” it. You won’t ever get over it, but you will get through it.
Elisabeth Kubler-Ross was a Swiss-American psychiatrist and author of the groundbreaking book, On Death and Dying, where she first discussed her theory of five stages of grief. This is not an endorsement for her book or the five stages. (Although, who am I to disagree with a Swiss-American psychiatrist?) It is simply a set up to a quote by her and her colleague David Kessler I read recently. This is what they said: “The reality is that you will grieve forever. You will not ‘get over’ the loss of a loved one; you will learn to live with it. You will heal, and you will rebuild yourself around the loss you have suffered. You will be whole again, but you will never be the same. Nor should you be the same, nor would you want to.”
Against the backdrop of these two important truths, let me ask you again, “Are you grieving?”
I am praying for you. Really.
Kaye Hurta has a Masters Degree in counseling from Liberty University and is a crisis counselor for Women’s Events through LifeWay Christian Resources. Whether speaking, singing, or listening, Kaye’s passion is to help others find intimacy with Christ and soul transformation through the living pages of His Word. Kaye met and married her husband Chris in Austin, Texas in 1987. They have two daughters through the miracle of adoption, Madison and Cami. They live in the Chicago burbs where they are both on staff at Willow Creek Community Church. Kaye is also a contributing author for the LifeWay resource, Women Reaching Women in Crisis.