There are unwritten laws and rules for dealing with almost everything in life. Gravity controls
movement on earth and skies within our planet's influence. Hunger controls the need to eat.
Thirst controls our need to drink a refreshing liquid. And a death in our family requires the
need to express our raw emotions ~ our grief over the death. I say "Requires" because there
are consequences for not grieving just as there are consequences for not trusting that there is
gravity to deal with, hunger if we don't eat, and dehydration if we do not drink water.

If we do not take into account the force of gravity and jump off a tall building, we will most
certainly be severely injured or killed by the impact at the bottom of the jump. If we do not eat,
we will inevitably loose weight and suffer drastic problems with our bodies and minds. If we do
not drink enough water, we will become dehydrated and eventually die. All of our systems
would shut down and we would cease to function as healthy normal people are supposed to
according to God's divine design. In those things, we have no choice other than to obey. We
MUST follow God's divine law!

The same is true of grief. When we lose a beloved member of our family, all of our systems go
into a state of shock calling for the response of relieving that trauma. We experience disbelief,
denial, anger, desperation, loneliness, sadness, and a dozen other emotions that cry out for
relief. Each emotion must be worked through in no special order, but nonetheless, we MUST
get through all of them to bring our emotions back to normal and get on with our lives, again
according to God's divine design.

In my own case, I experienced the death of two of my children in a very untimely manner. My
youngest daughter was killed in an auto-pedestrian accident at age 11, and my only son died
years later of renal cancer at the age of 44. The first death came suddenly with no warning;
my son's death was preceded by 2 years and 8 months of desperate battle with the dread
disease. In the death of my daughter I was not allowed to grieve openly, and with my son's
death, I was supported emotionally and encouraged to express my sadness in my own way
whenever I felt the need.

In the first one, my husband was thrown into such a state of shock and denial that he could
not face it. So his way of coping was to not talk about our daughter at all, to not allow
photographs to be shown in our living room or anywhere else in the house. Our other two
teenagers apparently went on with their typical teenager lives, albeit very sadly. However
years later, I learned that they each carried a load of guilt at not being nicer and more sharing
with her. My son did not speak her name until just before his own death years later when he
confessed it to me.

My own reaction was to watch my physical body rebel. Over months, I watched my health
plummet as I was not allowed to openly grieve my child at home. I lost the ability to keep food
down; my inner ear became ineffectual in my balance, and my lymph system became a series
of swollen glands choking me as I tried to sleep while lying in my bed.

On the other hand, in the death of my son, I was encouraged to express my sadness and
mourn openly with the total support of my new husband. I was allowed to fully experience all
the pain and loss I was feeling with nothing barred from being discussed. And still today, if I
feel the need to reminisce about either of my deceased children with my husband, he gives
me the freedom to do so, at length if I feel the need to do so. My body never gave any
indication of shutting down and my health ~ other than fatigue of traveling frequent long
distances to attend my son in the hospital before his death, remained stable.

The grief recovery time between the two deaths was amazingly different. Where is took years
for my health to completely heal and life to resume as normal with suppressed grieving with
my daughter, it was only months of fully expressed grieving for the shock to my system to
normalize in the death of my son. I feel no less sad with my son's death than I did my little
daughter, nor do I miss her more than I do my son. That would be totally impossible! There is
no standard for the amount of grief you feel for any lost loved one in your family, especially
children. Each person must go through their own shock in their own way, and in their own time
frame.

From these personal experiences as well as those that have been told to me by others
grieving for their lost loved ones, I can draw this conclusion: The Laws and Rules for coping
with death and grieving are universal. Like the laws of gravity, hunger, and thirst, the Laws of
grieving MUST be obeyed or we will be severely effected be the end of the trip like the
landing at the bottom of a jump from a tall building, or extreme fasting or dehydration.

But the difference is that the trip through grief does not have to be traveled alone. God is in
control of our lives, and as our Creator, He will love us and comfort us through the depths of
the sadness we must all experience at some time in our lives. All you have to do is cry out to
Him and He will be there to help restore you and keep you as one of his children. He
promised!

May you find peace and solace in your journey
The Laws of Grief
© Betty Sue Eaton


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