Oh, what will the people say?
© Betty Sue Eaton
When you lose someone dear to you, friends, relatives and maybe even your fellow church
members urge you to get over it and go on with your life. Of course, they mean well, but it is
so unthinkable to you that you resent anyone thinking that you COULD go on, even if you
wanted to.

Having at last been able to survive the loss and begin to think of doing something fun again,
my friend wanted to go to lunch with her fellow employees and just relax, maybe even laugh a
little. She did just that and it felt great to be happy, at least for the moment, then that awful
feeling struck her: What will people say if they see me laughing and enjoying being alive
again! That old nemesis, Guilt, had jumped up and bitten her!

Guilt is garbage that you should not attempt to carry around for the rest of your life because
you lost someone very precious to you. What could you have done to change the outcome of
whatever took him or her away. God says that we are not to second guess Him in matters of
life and death. Those states of being are His alone to decide according to His plan for us, and
there is absolutely nothing under the sun that we can do to change that.

Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, the famed authority on the different stages of grief states in her
acclaimed book, On Death and Dying, identified the five basic stages of grief: Denial, Anger,
Bargaining, Acceptance, and Reaching Out. She says that people do not necessarily go
through these stages in order given, but eventually, they must go through them all. The
second stage, anger, includes guilt because we feel that we should have been able to have
prevented this terrible event. Bargaining is almost totally expressed as anger, wherein, we
must try to arrange a deal with God to somehow take our guilt away for allowing this to
happen, to try to make ourselves feel better, and to some way shift the blame to someone
else for us to be angry at. After all, it makes no sense to be angry with the one who died and
left us to cope with that loss all alone.

In Kubler-Ross' latest book, she identifies a sixth stage: Journey to Beginning. She says this
is the stage where true healing takes place, and that no real healing can take place until we
face this journey, the most important one after the Reaching Out, or fifth stage of grieving.
She states that the Journey to Beginning is the expression that there has been a real change
in thought about the loss of a loved one, and the first real demonstration of a change in our
heart about going on with our lives.

To that end, I want to stress that anger is the most destructive of all emotions and it
accomplishes nothing but debilitation of our souls! It does not motivate us to try to recover; it
does not endear us in our grief to those who would try help us; it does nothing to prepare us
for renewed life after we accept that the situation at hand will never change no matter what
we do or try to do. What is just is, by God's action, not ours.

So go out, go on, and laugh! Laugh heartily and long!  Find places and things to be involved
in that will allow you to enjoy yourself and those around you. It matters not what people say,
that it's far too soon for you to be 'behaving this way'!

At my mother's funeral wake in the home of my sister and her family, the seven of us began to
sing, slowly and doleful at first, but soon, we were letting our voices ring in a joyous chorus.
My aunt, who never smiled at anything ever, was aghast that we should do that! It was a
sacrilege, but the pastor came in on the scene and was greatly moved at the courage
expressed there to accept Mom's death and be glad that she was no longer suffering the
terrible pains of heart disease.

There was no anger, no guilt, no bargaining present that day, only God's blessing that would
allow us the freedom to sing instead of mourn at His calling our Mom home at last.


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