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Dealing with Grief- Denial- Part 1

Losing someone we care about is never easy. Sometimes we do not want to even accept that we have such a loss. We would call this Denial. It is painful and we go through many emotions; Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and finally Acceptance. When we lose someone close we find something that we can hold on to that reminds us of them. A friend of mine held on to her mother’s necklace. She had purchased the necklace from Belle Fever for her 70th birthday, and her mother wore it every day, loved it and cherished it. It was a Butterfly Pendant – Crystal Gold. Butterflies were her mother’s favorite thing and she had it specially made just for her. Keeping this necklace close to her heart helped my friend keep her mother close to her and always brought back a fond memory. There is always a story to tell and a good laugh to have.

The Kubler-Ross Model of the six stages of grief states the following.

“Denial – As the reality of loss is hard to face, one of the first reactions to follow the loss is Denial. The person begins to try to shut down reality or magnitude of their situation, and begin to develop a false, preferable reality.”

One thing a parent does not want to here are “you need to tell your son/daughter goodbye, he/she is not going to live, we cannot save him/her.” When you hear those words your heart sinks, you burst into tears, and you lose all control. Well at least I did.

My son, Jason was in the Army, just 19 years old, still a kid. One of his battle buddies had gone AWOL and his First Sargent sent him to find this boy (another 19 year old kid) and not to return without him. Jason followed orders, he found the young man, they call him Z, but he refused to return to base with him. Jason in his new founded wisdom, which every 19 year old kid thinks they have, decided to bring him home for a weekend. I knew something was up, but I didn’t know what and they were not telling. They hung out with their friends and were going to be leaving out on Monday. I was going to miss him.

Monday rolls around and I am cooking a big dinner. I want to send them off on a full belly. When out of the blue the phone rings, I clean my hands and proceed to the phone. I answer the phone, it is a police officer. The officer proceeds to tell me who he is and verify who I am. He asked me if I knew where my son was, and what he had been up to. I told him he is hanging with his friends and that I expect him home anytime now, he leaves for base tonight. There was that denial again that anything had happened or was wrong.

The phone was silent for a moment; the officer told me that my son was at the hospital with a gunshot wound to his chest. This is one phone call that I hope and pray that no parent ever has to receive. My heart sunk, and I went into panic mode. I just knew that I had loss my child, my baby boy. I was a mess; I was in tears and out of control. My husband was beside himself and had no clue, what to do. Thank God for my youngest son John. He grabbed the car keys, my phone, my purse and said “Mom, get in the car”. I got in the car and he drove me to the hospital, dropped me at the front door, and went to park the car. The hospital had police all over and they took me into a room by myself. This is where I sat and waited in silence for someone to tell me what was happening.

The doctor soon came in and told me that I needed to tell my son goodbye, that he was not going to live. They had no doctors trained that could handle this sort of injury. The damage was to intensive. There was a team of doctors on their way in to try to save him, but they knew it would not be possible. I on the other hand fell to my knees and prayed. I told the doctor, I will not tell my son goodbye. He is a fighter, not a quitter, and he will survive. They took me back to him. I held his hand. Doctors and nurses surrounding him, working on him, trying to stabilize him enough to get him to the Operating Room for surgery. He was not awake as I held his hand, but I knew somewhere deep down he could hear me. I continued to tell him, over and over again; “I love you, you’re not a quitter, you’re a fighter, don’t you quit on me”. Then they pulled me back and I watched as they rushed him off.

Jason died on the way to the OR, they revived him. He died two more times on the OR table, each time they revived him. They stabilized him and put him into intensive critical care to see if he could make it through the night. If so they would Bay Flight him out to the nearest trauma center for more surgery. He was still bleeding internally and there was nothing else they could do at that time.

The whole time, I was in denial. This could not be happening. I did not want to face what was happening. I knew no matter what the outcome my life, my children’s lives, my husband’s life, all would be altered. There will be a struggle to come depending on what happens through this long dreadful night. I call my family and friends, and everyone gathers at the hospital, waiting, wondering, and watching the clock as the hours pass. We gather in prayer, and hope that Jason will survive, that God does not bring him home early. Now only time will tell.

Each one of us grasp to our own reality. Striving to find purpose in what we do or have done in our lives. When faced with loss of any kind, we tend to grasp on to a reality that keeps us safe and secure. We begin to look for anything that will provide purpose and give meaning to our lives. During my times of Denial, I reach for my Bible and search for guidance. I will leave you for today with one last thought, Revelation 21:4 and He shall wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there shall no longer be any death; there shall no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away

Tomorrow is gone, the future is not promised, and live for today. For today is the day God has given.

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