27 March 2011

Three months down the track

I was speaking to someone last week on the subject of grief after a crisis.  For some, grief hits immediately.  For others, the grief strikes later, after the adrenalin has run out.  For some it's severe and sudden.  For others it's more slow release.  And it takes its many forms - sadness, despair, denial, anger, depression.

Last week, during the course of this conversation, I learned that no matter how the initial grief is experienced, there can often be a new wave of grief about three months after the event.  This is true for personal bereavement and also for large scale crises of the ilk we have seen this year. 

And this grief at the three month mark is a very difficult and confusing time.  The immediate crisis is over.  Maybe recovery and restoration (physical and personal) is underway.  And suddenly in it whooshes.  It can be hard to understand what's going on.  Hard sometimes to even connect this grief with the events that took place three months ago.  You wonder whether you might just be going crazy.

It has been a difficult three months.  We have seen floods, cyclones, bushfires, earthquakes, a tsunami and the disabling of a nuclear reactor.  Each new crisis has taken the attention away from its predecessor.  But while out attention is diverted, the ones who lost family, friends, homes, maybe their livelihood to the earlier disasters continue to live with the effects of their crisis.

Our attentions and prayers have rightly been upon those caught up in the horrors unfolding in Japan.  But it is important to pause and count back.  The January floods happened about three months ago.  If you know someone who was affected by those floods, why don't you check in on them.  They may be fine.  Grief is not text book.  It may be though that they are feeling a bit wobbly just now and just don't know why and don't what to do with it.  Let them know that this OK.  Give them another hug.  And pray for them all over again. 


HisFireFly said...

Often His most profound work is accomplished in the midst of all the grief.

Prayers for all.

Meredith said...

Thank you HisFireFly for visiting. It was nice to visit you too! You are so right. It is in the darkest of times that we depend and trust and lean on Him the most. They are rich times, even in their pain.

The thing I have been learning is that in addtion to needing to learn to trust God more, I have needed to pray for a larger heart to hold more. It is all too easy to compartmentalise - and when the next crisis came along it was tempting to put the last one back in its box, pull out the new one and pray for it. So I have been praying for a greater capacity to love in order to keep more of these big issues in my prayers without feeling like I am sinking, as well as the other details of daily life. Because who am I to sink under the weight of prayer when there are so many people who are in really dire need.

It is a BIG subject. Thanks for your encouragement.

Sarah said...

Thanks Meredith. A most timely post indeed.

Meredith said...

Yeah, I guess you are about three months down the track from some big events in your life. How are you doing? You don't have to answer that in blogosphere if you don't want to! But how about I publish this comment and then pray for you as I unstack the dishwasher. Take care.

Sarah said...

Thanks for your prayers. I am going ok apart from having the flu this week. God is upholding me and good things are starting to happen.

Meredith said...

Great news Sarah. Onwards and upwards. I look forward to hearing how it all unfolds if and when you blog about it.

Wendy said...

Thanks for coming to visit my blog-room Meredith. I didn't know about the three-month thing. But I'll keep it in mind. I have been mindful that while we're mostly feeling okay now, that the grief and stress may very well appear in the future, especially when the pressure releases a bit (we have a lot on our plate at the moment). The multiple disasters that we have been a part of or on the edge of certainly makes me cautious! And you are right - the tremors are frequent reminders.

Meredith said...

Hi Wendy.
I felt a bit uncomfortable about "promoting my blog" in the comment I left on your blog but I wasn't sure if you knew I was back in action and I was wanting to let you know of this possibility. Likely for you the "three months" will be further down the track, given that the Japanese crisis is still happening.
Take care.

Wendy said...

Don't feel uncomfortable, that is the way blogdom works - spread the joy around. After all our blogs are out there for people to read.