Moving Through Grief: Carrying It (Not So) Well
This week I've been focusing on grief and its effects on us in the Daily Devo. Each day we're going to address one of the "Five Stages of Grief" established years ago by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross in her work on grief and how we process it.
Today we're going to talk about the fourth stage: Depression.
I've written about depression on the Daily Devo frequently. Still, I haven't really explored how sometimes people can suffer depression, and no one else even knows it because they can hide it so well.
Elisabeth Kubler-Ross identified depression as the fourth stage of the grief process. It's the stage she determined would come on the heels of denial, bargaining, and anger as the reality of our losses land upon us, and we are forced to come to grips with them.
I need to say that none of these "stages" are linear, meaning that we don't typically experience them as a checklist that we move through on our way to getting over a loss or journeying through our grief.
Sometimes we feel them all at once or move back and forth between the stages as we become triggered by feelings, emotions, memories, and the like.
And depression can be something we feel alongside the first three stages in varying degrees, which has been my own experience, to be honest.
Also, depression is something that gets hidden during the grief process by many of us because we're doing our best to put on a brave face or to avoid uncomfortable conversations.
We also can feel the weight of other people's expectations or desires that we "get over it" and move on, making us want to hide what's happening inside us even though, all the while, we just want to be seen.
The other day I was listening to "Carry It Well," a song by singer/songwriter Sam Fischer that had these lyrics that speak so directly to this:
Just because I carry it wellDoesn't mean it isn't heavy and I don't need some helpI know I keep it locked down, but all I want nowIs somebody who can tell me how it's gonna turn out'Cause I thought I'd be doing better by nowI thought I'd be doing better by nowBut don't I carry it well?
Here the singer expresses what so many of us have felt when we're carrying the weight of grief and loss and the weight of the many people around us who don't seem to see how much we are suffering.
Author Shannon L. Alder captures the essence of those feelings this way:
“Every broken heart has screamed at one time or another: Why can't you see who I truly am?”
If you are suffering from grief and loss, you should know that you are not alone. Even if it feels as though no one knows what you're going through, there are people in your life who do.
And you should also know that the God who loves you more than you will ever know is also with you, and it is the presence of this God that will sustain you and lift you up if you are willing to surrender your outcomes to God.
May you know that whatever you feel is simply part of your process of dealing with your loss, and it does not define you. May you find peace during your struggle, and may it lead you to hope.
And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.