Dr. Denton Weiss on Death and Dying: Pride and Fear or Love and Faith?
So how do I recover? How can I find joy when my soul aches in pain?
How can our faith help? Our Lord is a loving God. He clearly wants us to grieve and know the pain of loss, but he is also a God of Love and healing. Our depression and inability to move forward are not from a Lord of Love. However, he understands them well and walks through them with us. So how do I recover? How can I find joy when my soul aches in pain?
The emotions of despair, loneliness, and emptiness are inevitable. We must go here to heal, but the bottom of this barrel can be one of extreme muck.
PORTSMOUTH,VA. (Catholic Online) - Dear Dr Denton: Recently I lost a loved one and I am having a tough time dealing with the loss. Can you help?
Pride and Fear or Love and Faith.
On Good Friday I walked into a church without kneelers and said to my Lord "Please Jesus bring the kneelers back into this beautiful basilica". Mass was starting and I was dressed to the nines. I had my suit and all the fittings in place. I was sitting asking God what am I doing with my life. I had just lost a friend after a surgery and was emotionally spent. The cause of his death was not clear and the Lenten season had been the worst of my life culminating in the loss of life.
As I sat in a state of quiet we all began to rise slowly and move forward to the cross. Initially they came out with three crosses. "What is this" I thought - "there is only one cross for Christ not three". Once again critical, angry, and simply questioning God. As we moved forward I waited and then stepped out to walk down the aisle. In front of me was a small, African American man bent and weathered with the burdens of time. He shuffled as I walked proudly. Then suddenly I realized he was wearing sweat pants and his gait was one of pain and agony. He knelt in front of me shaking as he touched the cross, he offered a kiss.
I cried, realizing he was Christ before me. I the Proud physician was struck to his knees. I could only hug the cross below the site where this beautiful man kissed the wood of life. I cried at my sin of Pride and asked forgiveness.
I made it back to the pew and held on for whatever would come next. My brother-in law by my side. We prayed for our wives who were home with their failing father. I prayed for answers to the questions running through my mind. Why was my father-in-law weakening? Why did my friend die? Why did my patient suddenly pass from this would to the next? Why Lord?
Now Fear began to overcome me as I thought of the future. What would happen to my patient's family, our family, the practice, and my patients? Please Lord! Like the voice of my father when I was a child, like the voice of The Father in the reconciliation. Like the voice of the Rabbi. "My Grace is Sufficient for You" Exploded in my head. "But, Lord... "My Grace is Sufficient for you." I cried.
As we moved to the Lords Table exhaustion really is the only word I can use to describe the moment. I lifted my head and received the Body and Blood. I knew I was given the ultimate gift, the gift of Love.
When I returned to the pew I found out why there were no kneelers. There was no need for them. The floor of stone was worn smooth by the knees of the faithful upon them. As I knelt there on the floor the presence of Our Lord filled my Soul with Faith and Love.
With the weeks of Easter now upon me I reflect back on Lent and losses of loved ones, now and in the past. I look at the life changing moments of crisis and I see the answers are in Faith and Love. My responses are simply human. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross wrote the acclaimed book "On Death and Dying" and tried to give us all some sense of healing after the loss of a loved one. She and her colleagues studied the coping mechanisms of individuals who had lost loved ones. They came up with 5 stages that are now commonly used in helping people through healing and recovery.
Ms Kubler-Ross has been quoted as saying "The five stages.are a part of the framework that makes up our learning to live with the one we lost. They are tools to help us frame and identify what we may be feeling. But they are not stops on some linear timeline in grief. Not everyone goes through all of them or in a prescribed order. Our hope is that with these stages comes the knowledge of grief's terrain, making us better equipped to cope with life and loss."
These thoughts are reinforced by George A. Bonanno, Professor of Clinical Psychology at Columbia University, in his book "The Other Side of Sadness." In his writings Professor Bonanno describes grief as highly individualized and personal, that no two people grieve in the same way.The Stages of Grief, as they are called, should probably be called The Healing Stages
Denial: Initially many of us close out the event as if it never happened we function as though the world hasn't changed. The feeling of being numb is common or even a sense of shock leaving a person speechless and fatigued. Pain, sadness, and especially guilt can creep into the heart. Why not me?
Anger: The most difficult of stages to manage because denial is gone. Someone or something is to blame for this pain I feel. The very people who are supporting us are often the ones we strike. Sometimes we strike at God. We yell in our minds "why Lord why, you could have stopped this from ...
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