Part 2 Examining Grief
Looking within yourself
Looking at Us
3. Speculate on the issues of grief and loss experienced by Jennifer, Byron, and Manny, as they think about the loss of their mother (not grandmother). Would you consider the experiences of these children trauma? Why or why not?
I would consider the experiences of the children most traumatic firstly. Byron was placed in an oven, Manny was burned by a crack pipe, Jennifer was sold for crack. The social structure of the family was disrupted by the mother’s addiction. The issues of grief I would see from the children in relation to the loss of their mother Jennifer’s need to control surfaces as a coping mechanism for dealing with her grief.
For example, Jennifer has nightmares, Manny has night sweats, and Byron tosses and turns in his sleep. This is how physically and unconsciously ways in which the children are involuntarily expressing their grief. The control that Jennifer exudes in relation to her brothers as protector is her way of taking back the control she lost when she was sold for drugs and the losses in her life.
She says she is tired of going from place to place and she doesn’t think she is going to make it. One could even speculate that based on April’s experiences of what goes on in this house stays in this house, that it was a rule that didn’t allow release and expression of truth and true feelings. Jennifer recounts to Madea that when she was upset her Mama Rose told her to pray about it. This is also a clear case of avoidance given her history under stress.
Also in terms of separation and attachment no matter what type of person their mother was or what she did. She had that attachment at the time of conception. The lost of their mother made codependency an option, because as something is lost something has to replace that which is lost. It says, “At a moment of significant loss, needs for sustenance and protection mount sharply and are often left satisfied.” according to Mitchell.
4. When Jennifer hears about the loss of her grandmother, she reacts in a particular way. If you were her pastor or pastoral care provider, how would you provide care for her? Name at least five functions of Pastoral Care and describe how each of the functions would be helpful in working with this family system.
Five functions in Pastoral Care are healing, sustaining, guiding, reconciling, and nurturing. Given Jennifer’s grief over the systematic loss of her grandmother and her numbness and anger I would approach in the essence of healing. As the healer I would be open and attentive to her present. I would have to put my voice box on mute and let her talk. I would be open to listening to the groans of her distress. I would try to have my presence, words, and activities foster themselves as channels by which the love, support and help in transcendence is mediated, being open to God and however I am directed.
Also, I would be functioning as a sustainer. I would also let her know that the inner healing process is not simple and short, but I am willing to consistently on a regular basis be here for her. I would realize given her context she is very much presently at a place of survival. I would be open to healing by whatever means possible. I have to help her find strength and support from within and without and teach her how to cope with what cannot be changed such as her grandmother’s death. Saying its going to be rough no doubt, but I will be here with you to cry, to sort, or whatever healthy ways we cope.
Also, I would be reconciler and through this process I would attempt to have her and her aunt’s relationship from Jennifer’s standpoint reconciled. My goal would be to help her find better ways of relating to others, because she has a tendency to react to anger and expect the worse. I would attempt to build a community and allow her on her own terms and time to be able to embrace community and form newer and healthier relationships both past, present, and future.
As I guide her, I would try to enable her through faith and love to draw out or pull out that which lies within her. I would try to expand her understanding and experience as it relates to the choices she makes in her life. I would guide her in the ways of coping and living her life to her fullest potential overcoming one hurdle at a time.
As a nurturer, I would acknowledge the nurturing process as an ongoing process. I would keep in mind that during this process that nurturing changes and different developmental stages will be prevalent given this point in her life. It is an ongoing process especially in the time of crisis. She must leave at that point behind her past attitudes that limited her from embracing a new potentially threatening possibility of self. I will not only need to comfort her, but to challenge Jennifer to grow in spite of what she has gone through.
Keep your eyes peeled, soon will I do part 3 of this series in Grief.
- Coping with Grief and Loss: Support for Grieving and Bereavement
There is no right or wrong way to grieve, but there are healthy ways to cope with loss. These tips can help.
Hearing Harvard on Grief
- Coping with Grief and Loss - Harvard Health Publications
While no words can erase grief, this report can help you navigate these turbulent waters. In its pages, you’ll find advice on easing your pain, comforting yourself, and commemorating your loved one.