Mourning change

by Darla on January 21, 2010

in Life

I’m not sure if this post will make it publicly or not.  After learning about Brian’s contract renewal, there were many emotions.  They were all over the place or so it felt.  Several insensitive comments were made and I started to lose it.  What I recognized in myself is a mourning process.  Not to equate it with the depth of grief over losing a loved one but the path is similar and recognizing where you are in the cycle can be the greatest way to honoring yourself and the time you need to start again.

This is a fantastic article about mourning your job loss.  I’ve taken excerpts from it and shared my experience.

1. Denial.

The refusal to accept the reality of your layoff. If you don’t believe it, it isn’t real. You’ll wake up tomorrow and find that it’s all a bad dream. You tell yourself: “This really isn’t happening to me, It is all a mistake. They’ll call me back and everything will go on just the way it was.”

The thought that went through my mind is this individual is acting out with their superiors knowledge and once they know or understand what he’s done they will rescind his decision.  If that isn’t denial I don’t know what is.

2. Bargaining.

When the reality seeps in and denial is no longer a viable option, we move into the bargaining phase. We try to “make a deal” with someone, anyone, to rectify the situation. You promise: “I’ll be good, really good. I’ll do anything, God, if you just make this one thing okay.”

If this step occurred it was really quick this time but there have been other experiences that this has taken longer.

3. Anger.

The bargains don’t work so our emotions turn to anger. Life isn’t fair but that’s easy to say and hard to emotionally accept. The reality of what has happened makes your blood boil and you find yourself hissing under your breath: “It isn’t fair. How dare that young punk throw me out after all I’ve done for this company? It’s the government’s fault -sending all those jobs overseas.”

For me, there are several thoughts about this.  All I’m willing to share is that anger was definitely there.  It isn’t all encompassing but there is a feeling of unfairness.  Much for me is centered on the reasons they applied to the non renewal.  Would it be easier to handle if the reason were we just aren’t going to renew your contract? I don’t really know because that wasn’t what happened.

4. Depression.

As your anger fades and then turns inward against yourself, you start to feel scared of the future, mentally overwhelmed, and terribly abandoned. You obsess on your fears: “How am I going to survive? No one cares. I feel so alone.”

This step has been an interesting one as well and my response has been to search the internet and send the links/job descriptions to Brian.  It has also been cut short to some extent by the fact that we listed to our religious leaders suggestion that we get out of debt and start a savings account to the extent of 3 months income.  We weren’t quite there yet but will be by the time we leave.  Can’t imagine where we would be without it.

5. Acceptance.

You are finally able to acknowledge the truth, that you will continue to live and, maybe if something good happens for a change, you’ll thrive in a new environment. You admit: “I don’t like it. I hurt. But I’m ready to move on and find something new and different.”

It is when you finally reach acceptance, a long hard journey for some with prolonged periods of anger and depression along the way, that the future starts to take shape and you are finally able to look forward, not back. At that moment, and not until then, the floundering stops and you are able to look around with a hopeful spirit and develop an adventurous mood instead of wallowing in self-pity.

Another Epiphany happened while we were at church in regards to this step.  A brother shared about a problem he was having and so he went to the Lord in prayer.  He received an answer but then lacked the courage to follow through.  He shared that it was the greatest regret of his life that he allowed fear to stand in his way.  Talk about being in the right place at the right moment.  The thought came that I need to ask for increased faith to follow his will at the moments when I feel weakest and courage to carry out his plan.

The best tools for me have been faith, prayer, hope, scripture study, and attending church.  You never know where or when the answers will come.

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