Grief and Trauma

You have come to this page for some reason; perhaps you were just curious about what you would find or perhaps you have experienced grief through the loss of a loved one.

Much of our sharing in this family website is because of the life situations that the two of us have experienced. Grief and Trauma has been in our lives and we would think that at least some type of grief has been in yours.

For us there have been many losses in our lives, but the death of John is definitely the biggest. Most of us are old enough to say that we have lost someone in our family, a grandparent, uncle or aunt or parent. Each of these losses has resulted in some form of grief which starts a process. The fact that grief is a process is agreed upon by psychologists; what are less agreed upon are the actual steps in dealing with the loss?

Two models for the grief process are common, one, a five step process and the other a ten step process. Here are the stages of the two models:

Model 1

1. Denial

2. Anger

3. Bargaining

4. Depression

5. Acceptance

Model 2

1. Shock

2. Expression of emotion

3. Depression and loneliness

4. Physical distress

5. Panic

6. Guilt

7. Anger and resentment

8. Resistance

9. Hope

10.Affirmation of reality

As we use our own personal experience in the loss of John to this point in the process (nine months after), we have definitely experienced most of the stages in both models.

If you have lost a child we would like to share this with you from the book Overcoming Grief and Trauma by Mel Lawrenz and Dan Green.

Grief is “the natural, expected reaction to a loss.”

Trauma on the other hand is “the experience of something shocking happening to someone (physically or psychologically) that produces some kind of inner injury that affects the person’s ability to function in normal ways.”

Losing a child is that much more difficult because you are not only wrestling with grief but trauma as well. Grief is normal, trauma is not!

We recently have been exposed to a number of losses of children in our area as well as parents who have gone or are going through the stages of grief and trauma.

In one instance we listened to an interview of a father who had lost his daughter in the Iraq war. He was asked by the interviewer to try to describe what it was like in his life three years after the loss of his daughter. He said, “It is like losing your arm, at first it is a raw wound that is painful and you realize that a part of you is missing. Over time, it begins to heal but you will never again go through life not realizing that something dear to you is missing.”

As we write this some acquaintances of Pam’s over the years have just lost their 19 year old daughter. A terrible car accident, a 77 year old man and his wife are driving behind the 19 year old on an off ramp of a highway; suddenly the man has heart attack, hits the accelerator and slumps over. His wife, now trying to steer the car hits the young lady driving the car, pushes her 160 feet down an embankment and ruptures the gas tank causing a massive fire. Witnesses could not get near the burning car to rescue her and suddenly another family would embark not only on the journey of grief but that of trauma as well.

Whether it is the loss of John, the stories above or your loss of a child in an unexpected time frame, you are suffering from grief and trauma. This combination leaves your life in turmoil. It is not a place any of us would choose to go to on our own. We can’t understand it and we can’t change it.

If you find yourself at this place, understand that the process is not linear. You are going to experience many twists and turns and dead ends and then find that you’re right back to place you have been before. It’s OK, it is normal.

We could share more, but if you need to talk or just share your experience, write us; you can find our contact information under the Contact Us tab.

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Joy: "The quiet confident assurance of God's love and work in our lives; no matter what happens"