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  • Writer's pictureArnie Ken Palyola

A Reflection on "Grief and Healing"

Updated: May 19, 2022

Loving others means we will feel grief eventually.



At the time of this writing, I was working on a Sociology class. In my psychology class, we covered several topics that gave way to several discoveries. We examined the five stages of grief, in writing an essay on The Five Stages of Grief, I discovered that a major event in my life occurred after my 1st son was born. When his mother moved away, taking my son, I went through the five stages of grief, with a post traumatic effect that left me angry, bitter and unhappy. These types of traumatic events can occur in someone’s life when a family member becomes ill or dies, or as in my case, my son disappeared from my life. The inability to complete a stage to move to the next can create havoc to one’s peace of mind. The five stages of grief are denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Read more on the Five Stages of Grief by Kubler-Ross. Ironically, the time frame directly after this traumatic event were my most productive years as a musician, although turbulent to say the least.

"Blessed are you who hunger now,

for you will be satisfied.

Blessed are you who weep now,

for you will laugh." Luke 6:21 NIV

I lived for many years struggling with frustration and doubt in myself, as a father, a man, in all my relationships. I needed to change to stop pushing those who loved me away.

Even after rediscovering my Bible as a tool of healing and being baptized by the international president of The Heaven Saint’s Motorcycle Ministry in 2013, there was still much I had to learn. I had to learn how to be at peace.

Reaching a place of “rest” is crucial to achieving a true peace. “Rest in the LORD and wait patiently for him” (Psalms 37:7). Peace requires deliberate focus, a meditation if you will. Focusing on God, reading the good news of The Gospels of Jesus Christ gives us "medicine" of the heart and takes our minds off ourselves. We can leave our mistakes in tomorrow we can be renewed today and "these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love" (1 Corinthians 13:13).

The National Wellness Institute suggests “wellness is an active process through which people become aware of, and make choices toward, a more successful existence” (National Wellness Institute, 2018). Take a look at their ideas on The 6 Dimensions of Wellness.

"Peace be with you, dear brothers and sisters and may God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you love with faithfulness" (Ephesians 6:23 NLT).


Update 7/10/2020

As I have progressed through my studies at HBU, I have made rather significant discoveries in the study and discussions on epistemology, I have discovered several authors such as Plantinga, MacIntyre and Kierkegaard. Ultimately I hope to arrive at ways I can serve my purpose in healing and guiding others to a finer understanding of who we are in light of a mysterious and ever present God who requires us to "think," and LOVE.


References

Elizabeth Kubler Ross’ 5 stages of grief. Retrieved from:

The National Wellness Institute, (2018), The Six Dimensions of Wellness Retrieved from:


Here is the essay I wrote on January 26, 2018 for GCU:

The Human Experience: Grief

There is no greater test on one’s sense of well being than experiencing a death or being diagnosed with a terminal illness. Grief is usually considered a universal experience, but ways of reacting to or handling the experience are inevitably shaped by one’s own culture through various prescribed rituals, beliefs, and family rules.

Psychologists have debated the theories of Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, while others have taken her research to new levels in understanding how different cultures cope with these “Five Stages Of Grief.”

Dr. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross developed a frequently cited model of bereavement in which she described a linear five step process consisting of denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance as terminally ill patients became aware of impending death (Beyond the Five Stages Of Grief, 2011). An individual experiences each stage within which there may be a span of emotions such as feelings of helplessness and guilt. Though Kübler-Ross captured the range of emotions that mourners experience, new research suggests that grief and mourning don't follow a checklist; they're complicated and untidy processes, less like a progression of stages and more like an ongoing process, sometimes one that never fully ends (O’Rourke, 2010). Kubler-Ross’ research continues to be the basis for many studies into how other cultures approach death and the grieving process today.

The “celebration of life” approaches the death of a community member in a manner intended to comfort the bereaved and honor the deceased. Personal involvement in planning, the celebration of life and/or worship and praise, the affirmation of death and transition, the use of ceremony, and group participation were all elements believed to offer increased significance of the funeral to the bereaved (Shabanowitz, 2013). Reeves (2011), suggests a ritual takes us out of our usual life in order to impart knowledge and experience around a particular topic and since the duration of a ritual is usually quite short, powerful tools are needed to direct and invite participants’ attention away from their everyday thoughts and actions, towards the purpose of the ceremony. Shabanowitz (2013) examined the motorcycle riding community for their rituals and practices and determined that while many of the ceremonies performed by a biker community are rooted in military tradition, the dedication to supporting the family through the loss can aid in the areas of acceptance and depression by providing long term support, emotional and even financially. The sense of community can aid in the grieving process while the practices and rituals of the biker community give honor to the fallen and the family.

Examining the rituals and traditions of the Chinese and how they view death; we can see unique methods at work to reconciling the emotions brought on by grieving. “Traditional Chinese beliefs attribute the cause of death to an external locus of control such as pre-destined rules or a higher power like sick qi or evil spirits; the reduced sense of personal responsibility that comes from this identification of an external cause of death decreases the degree of self-blame or guilt and the prescribed traditional beliefs seem to act as a cushion buffering the guilt-driven Chinese personality” (Chan, 2005). Chan, also found that pain of mourning a child can be compounded by their compliance with the Chinese traditionalists’ rule forbidding them from attending the funeral of their child. The Chinese also believe in an ongoing relationship with the deceased, and this method of “non-acceptance” can aid the individual thru the five stages of grief. Traditional Chinese families usually have an altar for honoring their ancestors, it is quite common for the Chinese to report to their ancestors through the altar and to ask for blessings. (Chan, 2005). Every culture has its ceremonies and rituals for coping with a loss in its community, but ultimately an individual will have to process the grief on a personal level, and in their own way.

One can find extensive research on grief and how it effects and is managed by cultures in every corner of the world; Elisabeth Kubler-Ross’ “Five Stages of Grief” continues to be referenced in many of these studies. Dr. Kübler-Ross’ work helped legitimize the wide variety of emotions in people who are dying (Beyond the five stages of grief, 2011). This research lead to examinations of the emotions of the grieving. Thru research one can find similarities and approaches to the grief process in Chinese traditionalists and the biker subculture; in their beliefs in honoring the deceased. While death and loss are unavoidable, universal to every culture, society can find understanding in each other in these studies and find similarities in our humanity.

References

Axelrod, J. (2017). The 5 Stages of Grief & Loss. Psych Central. Retrieved on January 23, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/lib/the-5-stages-of-loss-and-grief/

Beyond the five stages of grief. (2011). Harvard Mental Health Letter, 28(6), 3.

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