The stages of grief are common for all human beings. Once experiencing a tragic loss, or trauma, many of us go through steps that help us except what has happened and to move on. Some of these stages last longer than others, depending on how the person follows each stage. In this paper, we will cover the different stages of grief and how author Nicholas Wolterstorff reflections in the book of Lament For a Son impacted his life.
In the book, Lament For a Son, Wolterstorff tells us the story of the passing of his son, Eric. Wolterstorff explains that his son was in a mountain climbing accident. Do not be confused, this book is not a novel, but a collection of anecdotes and quotes pertaining to the authors experience of dealing with a premature death. Wolterstorff, believes that it is wrong for parents to buy their child because the children represent the future. The author plays through a battle of trying to move on from the loss of his son. The author informs the family with the death of his son, but states that each of them must live their lives as if Eric was still alive. The grief of his son’s death, leaves Wolterstorff at a loss of words. He does not know what to think nor to say.
People will often deny the grief process to avert pain but it is healthier if we learn to accept the loss as we journey through the stages of grief and our life. The process has 5 stages: denial, rage, trying to negotiate or bargaining, a depressed state and finally the last stage, acquiescence. The narrator does not only go through all of the stages, but each of these stages has a different variation of duration. Wolterstorff does not have a long stage of denial. He accepts the fact that his son has past away even though it hurts him tremendously on the inside. The author has the feeling of offering Eric, his son, to someone “before the cold burning pain” pervades him. The author does not go through a stage of rage. He has stayed calm throughout the tragic loss of his son.
However, as mentioned before, he tries to offer his sons body to someone, which is the stage of negotiation. The author does not wish to take the place of, but to simply be with his son again, for he has taken him for granted. Once Eric’s body is brought back, Wolterstorff is depressed. He has lost his son due to an accident, which has left a space in his heart empty.
The author states that he and his family had taken Eric’s life for granted, where now they are left with no son and he wishes they had a closer bond with him. Before the funeral of his son, Wolterstorff is in a very depressed state. However, the funeral gives Wolterstorff’s soul rest. The narrator seems to be in a better place where he has prepared the liturgy that is used at his son’s funeral. This stage is the last stage of the grievance process. The author accepts the fact that his son’s in a better place now. He also accepts that even though Eric is gone, his memories will stay forever.
In the book, Wolterstorff copes with his stress and loss in a beneficial way that lets him enjoy the rest of his life. For the narrator, books offer ways to turn from death and pain. Therefore he decided to write a book that explains the battle he has gone through with the news of his son passing away through the faith in God. The book he wrote is meant to assist other citizens in dealing with tragic problems and trauma. However, even though he writes his book, Wolerstorff still believes that it does not honor the memory of Eric.
The author accepts the fact that death is to come to everyone. That one can do whatever he or she wants to stop it, but it will come when the time comes. Wolterstorff learns to spy God in the light, but not see him in darkness. He comprehends the suffering that is happening around the world in a deeper meaning. Wolterstorff learns to live with himself even with all the regrets and sorrow from the loss, for he, one day will meet Eric again. He states that he is waiting for Judgment day to apologize to Eric, for the lack of attention he has given him.
These 5 stages of Grief helped Wolterstorff get past the death of his son. Not that he has completely forgotten about it but it has help him cope with this tragic time and to turn it around to live life to the fullest how Eric would have wanted to. These stages help a person recovery from a tragic loss in a healthy not deadly way which helps them get back on their feet and move on.
Roos, S. (2012). The Kubler-Ross Model: An Esteemed Relic. Gestalt Review, 16(3), 312-315. http://library.gcu.edu:2048/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=85124369&site=ehost-live&scope=site Bems, N. (2012). We can carry grief and joy together Psychology Today. Retrieved from http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/freedom-grieve/201204/we-can-carry-grief-and-joy-together Wolterstorff, N. (1987). Lament for a son. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans.
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