The Second Year
There is a myth that the one-year anniversary marks the end of the mourning period. After a year has passed many people mistakenly think that a grieving person should be over the loss and able to move on with his or her life. But in reality, there is nothing magical that happens to us at the end of the first year. Most people, who have suffered a tremendous loss, do not go to bed on day 365 and then wake up on day 366 feeling completely healed and delivered. Saints, nobody gives you a one year certificate stating that you have “graduated from the school or bereavement.”
Many people take at a minimum of two to three years to do all the grieving they need to do without having lost their mind and signing them self into some institution. Some people may even take more, and some may take less. There is not one-size fits all time frame when it comes to grief. It is very different for everyone, because it is very personal. You have to understand that you are unique, and your personal time frame is the only one that matters for you. Do not let misguided religious folk put you in a box, or make you feel that you are less spiritual, because it is taking you some time to get yourself together.
In my situation, it was several weeks before I went back to church. I didn’t want any more hugs, or kisses on the cheek. I did not want to hear anymore Scriptures telling me that God’s will was being done. I didn’t want to hear that Danie or Tom were in a better place. I did not want to hear that heaven just gained another angel. New Flash @ 11:00, when saints transition, we do not become guardian angels for those that have been left behind!!!!
So, Pastor Ford what can you expect in the second year? Much of that depends on the circumstances of your loss, how much time you have actually had to grieve, given everything else going on in your life, how much support you have received from the people around you, what other losses you may have experienced in a relatively short time, either before or after this particular loss. But based on the research, many grieving people have shared the following concerning what your expectation should be in the second year.
• Continuing upsurges or grief. In my experience there were waves of painful feelings that erupted at different times. Some may even throw you back into a fetal position, especially if you have experienced the loss of a child. During most holidays, you should expect to feel the absence of your loved one because typically, they would be near you, or you would be able to talk to them. But as times goes by, these waves come less often, are gentler, and pass more quickly-but the emotional surges will still come.
• Special days can still be rough. If the first year was “the year of the firsts,” “this is the year of the seconds.” Many would have anticipated even dreaded the first. But many people are surprised to discover the depth or degree of their feelings on birthdays, holidays, and other special occasions in the second year. Many people are confused, because they think they should be over the grieving stage by now.
• Pressure to be “over it.” Many people will experience outside pressure from family, friends, co-workers and even church members to be “over it.” People just think they have all the answers, thinking that you have had plenty of time to grieve. I was very blessed to have prayer partners, friends and family that allowed me the grace to talk openly about my losses. They prayed with me and told me that the feelings I was experiencing even in year two were perfectly normal. Beloved, you must realize that you cannot please people. You cannot grieve according to someone’s time frame or schedule!!! Take my advice and grieve as long as you need too. Agreeing with your own personal timetable will free you to grieve and heal in all areas of your life.
• Preparing to map out the rest of your life. I remember being in such a state of shock when my daughter and husband died. I had a difficult time remembering things; I was in a complete fog for quite a bit of time. Fortunately, my Mom stayed with me for a month when my husband passed. They did not force me to think about the future, all I could do was try to put one foot in front of the other each day that I woke up. I had totaled my car the day before Tom’s funeral, so along with planning a funeral, attending, and receiving family and guest from out of town; I was in constant pain from the car accident. It was a miracle that I wasn’t killed. By the way, the accident was my fault. I turned in front of a car, and it smacked into the side of my car. Take it from me, when your friends offer to drive you around following the death of a loved one, take their advice!! You should not be driving because you are not in your right mind!!!. Making long term plans, making important decisions is not wise to do at this time. Unless you need to act quickly for financial, health, or safety reasons, it is perfectly okay to continue to put off long-term plans. You must take things one day at a time. If you are not ready to look farther than down the street, it is perfectly alright and quite normal.
Well, I am not through, but I have given you enough to think about for this read. I will continue with this tomorrow or Friday.
Enjoy your Thanksgiving Holiday tomorrow, and remember, Every Day Is A Day of Thanksgiving. In everything give thanks, for it is the will of God in Christ Jesus, concerning you. Oh, and:
“DON’T FORGET TO SAY YOUR PRAYERS”