Grief can be termed as a process of response one faces when they lose a close person to death. Grief is said to be a process as it entails the different stages a person undergoes as he or she confronts the idea of loss of a close person up to the moment he or she accept the reality. Wolterstorff’s reflections portray a clear picture that indeed grief is a process as narrates how he dealt with this unanticipated loss of his son and giving a voice to other mourners. Throughout the Lament for a Son, it is clear that grief is part and parcel of people’s lives after the loss of a loved one and that indeed religion plays a huge role in bringing hope back to the grieving.
One of the main reasons why Wolterstorff mourns a lot is the fact that he is a believer that children are the future, and thus, no parents should have to bury their children (Wolterstorff, 2009). He believes that children are the ones supposed to bury their parents. The greatest lamentation was because he did not have a chance of saying goodbye to David. This is the reason behind him saying it would have been better if David fell sick and died because that way he would have had a chance to bid him a goodbye. However, Wolterstorff realizes that every death is unique and in one way or the other hurts. Wolterstorff soon calms himself through the realization of the resurrection. He believes that there is an internal life and one day he and his son will be reunited.
The death of David made his father feel as if he was in a battle field and failed to protect one of his soldiers, a fact that makes him have pain even in his soul (Wolterstorff, 2009). He tries to assume his son’s death through books and other people, but this does not help. He believes that forgetting his son’s death do little to honor him besides him soon realizing that other people cannot help during the grief because every person grieves differently.
Kubler-Ross’ Five Stages Of Grief, As They, Are Expressed Throughout Lament For A Son
This is the stage of grief where the affected people tend to be unwilling to accept that indeed they have lost a close person to death (Patricelli & Dombeck, 2016). They tend to think that they are dreaming hoping that good news would follow. In the case of Wolterstorff, this is demonstrated when he start thinking of what could have been if David did not climb the mountain (Wolterstorff, 2009).
This is the second stage of grief in which people have come to terms of accepting that indeed they have lost someone to death. The resulting phenomenon that the grieving people tend to be angry with the dead, others people or even objects (Patricelli & Dombeck, 2016). In the case of Wolterstorff, he was angry with David asking questions like why David climbed the mountain all alone (Wolterstorff, 2009). Besides, he was also mad at himself because he felt he needed to be with David before his death to bid him goodbye.
Bargaining forms the third stage of grieving where the main questions that linger in the mind of the grieving is “What if?” (Patricelli & Dombeck, 2016). In the case of Wolterstorff, this is evident when he tries to think the pain of the loss of his son would have been a little bit lesser if he had died of disease.
This is the fourth stage of depression where people have realized that their anger and bargaining are doing nothing to reverse the saddening loss of the loved one. Here people fall deep into crying and withdrawal from other people as they deal with the reality of the loss. They sometimes even blame themselves for the loss of life (Patricelli & Dombeck, 2016). In the narration, Wolterstorff went against the standards of the society that men should never cry. He even says he feels responsible for the death of his son and says it felt like he was in a battle and failed to protect one of his soldiers.
This is the final stage of grieving where people have learned to accept and cope with the occurrence of death. However, this stage should not be mistaken to mean that people are happy. At this stage, concerned people start learning how to go ahead with their life in the midst of loss (Patricelli & Dombeck, 2016). In the case of Wolterstorff, this stage is demonstrated when he break the news to his family that David was dead. He told them that they should continue living as if David was not dead.
How Wolterstorff Find Joy After His Loss
Religion is at the heart of Wolterstorff journey of finding joy after losing his son. The belief of resurrection consoles him because he believes he will meet with his son again. We are told in the narration that he is ‘sure’ he will talk with his son again when God’s will reign on Earth (Wolterstorff, N. (2009). He also believes that God mourns with the grieving people and that Jesus Christ promised mourners that they will be consoled. Also, he believes that God is love and love is suffering. Thus, he believes that his suffering means that God is also suffering due to the loss of David (Wolterstorff, 2009)
The Meaning And Significance Of Death In Light Of The Christian Narrative
Death is viewed as transition point of Christian from earthly life into an internal life with God (Shelly & Miller,2006). Here the soul of the person leaves the body and forms the basis through which people Christians are assured of eternity. Thus to Christians, death signifies the stage through which the immortal soul with the mortal body. The optimum gift to Christians is an eternal life with God (2 Corinthians 5:8), and thus, death is a symbol of the way toward the ultimate gift of perpetual life (Webster, J. (2004). .
How The Hope Of The Resurrection Play A Role In Comforting Wolterstorff
Resurrection hope calms down Wolterstorff as he feels that in the future he will be able to be rejoined with his son David. He is also filled with hope because it is his believed that his son was not in eternity. He also felt like he let David down and the hope of meeting with him in the judgment day and apologizing to David also consoles him (Wolterstorff, 2009). Over and above resurrection offers Wolterstorff a chance to meet with his son again in a matter of time thereby raising his hope of being with his son once again.
Patricelli, K., & Dombeck, M. (2016). Stages of grief models: kubler-ross – grief & bereavement
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Shelly, J. A., & Miller, A. B. (2006). Called to care: A Christian worldview for nursing.
Downers Grove, Ill: IVP Academic/InterVarsity Press.
Webster, J. (2004). Holy Scripture: A dogmatic sketch. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University
Wolterstorff, N. (2009). Lament for a son. Grand Rapids, Mich: Eerdmans.