Shock is a sudden, violent disturbance to the body. The same term is used to describe the effect of an electric current passing through the body. You have likely encountered this paralyzing reaction in grief.
Dr. Norman Peart describes his feelings after the death of his grandmother: "The immediate feeling was that of shock and an awareness that I was not as in control of the world as I once thought. Then it was a numbness, a realization that there's something missing from life now. There was also a great fear as to who could be taken next from my life."
This is something I can relate to so well. I remember the minutes after we heard "I'm sorry, this baby has no heartbeat" so vividly...how my body felt (hot then cold, shaking, like I was going to vomit), I remember the colours of the walls of the room, I remember thinking that all I wanted to do was roll over and go to sleep and never wake up. I also remember distinctly thinking of the double stroller in our house...that I wanted gone from my house. But beyond that I don't remember much except feeling completely out of control and completely lost. And I remember pushing constantly at my belly in the weeks to come to get Cameron to move...I was so sure I was going to lose him next. I also remember that so many moments I would forget what had happened. I would say 'the twins' and then realize I would never have to worry about 'the twins' again. I would wake in the morning and forget for a few minutes the hell I was living. So many things came in under the envelope of shock.
Virgil, who lost his wife, says, "When you go to a funeral, you hear people say, 'Oh, he's holding up so well.' I don't think that's true. I think the person in grief doesn't know what's going on. That's the state I was in." Maybe you can relate to how Virgil felt.
I now I certainly can relate to Virgil. I know people thought I was so strong because I was open about everything that was going on but also because I was enduring so much unrest in my life... dealing with our loss, having the surgery and blood transfusion, all the appointments, being hospitalized and away from my kids and just grieving in general. I said it then and I'll say it now... what else was I supposed to do. I wasn't doing much more then coping. I was carrying two babies inside of me..one very much alive but in very unpredictable health and one still, with no heartbeat. I didn't have a choice, I had to keep going. But I will tell you now, there were many times that the outward appearance of calm masked the inner turmoil but many other moments where I really was just coasting through it and not really grasping what was going on around me.
When you are in shock and you feel powerless to cope and unable to think straight, understand that you don't have to at that moment. Yet because of this, it is wise not to make any major changes in your life or decide on any important issues until your shock has subsided.
I know that I was very much in this powerless stage in the first month or so after our loss. I spent much more time crying, panicking, confused and in turmoil then I did anything else. I felt like I was getting a bit better at coping and then delivery date was set and the reality of what I had to face was in the forefront again. It was easier to pretend that I was just in the hospital because my water broke and I was keeping one baby in...I mean that really was all the doctors focused on so it was pretty easy to live that instead the reality that was my life. Every decision I made in those months of 'waiting' was second, third and fourth guessed...even what I should eat!
God will gently lead to safety those who consciously turn to Him and are dependent on His guidance.When I finally began to accept the reality I was living, when I finally began to try to cope, when I finally began to turn to God, I was amazed at the ease I had in getting some of my emotions out and therefore straightened out somewhat. I began to find my way out of the darkness.
"The LORD will give strength to His people; the LORD will bless His people with peace" (Psalm 29:11 NASB).
A psalm of David.
1 The Lord is my light and my salvation—
so why should I be afraid?
The Lord is my fortress, protecting me from danger,
so why should I tremble?
2 When evil people come to devour me,
when my enemies and foes attack me,
they will stumble and fall.
3 Though a mighty army surrounds me,
my heart will not be afraid.
Even if I am attacked,
I will remain confident.
4 The one thing I ask of the Lord—
the thing I seek most—
is to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life,
delighting in the Lord’s perfections
and meditating in his Temple.
5 For he will conceal me there when troubles come;
he will hide me in his sanctuary.
He will place me out of reach on a high rock.
6 Then I will hold my head high
above my enemies who surround me.
At his sanctuary I will offer sacrifices with shouts of joy,
singing and praising the Lord with music.
7 Hear me as I pray, O Lord.
Be merciful and answer me!
8 My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.”
And my heart responds, “Lord, I am coming.”
9 Do not turn your back on me.
Do not reject your servant in anger.
You have always been my helper.
Don’t leave me now; don’t abandon me,
O God of my salvation!
10 Even if my father and mother abandon me,
the Lord will hold me close.
11 Teach me how to live, O Lord.
Lead me along the right path,
for my enemies are waiting for me.
12 Do not let me fall into their hands.
For they accuse me of things I’ve never done;
with every breath they threaten me with violence.
13 Yet I am confident I will see the Lord’s goodness
while I am here in the land of the living.
14 Wait patiently for the Lord.
Be brave and courageous.
Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.
O Lord, my feet have been swept out from under me, but in Your loving arms I am steady and secure. You know how much I struggle lately, how overwhelmed I feel and how unsure I am of the path you have put me on. Help me to remember that the world may have knocked me down and made it hard to stand but you, oh Lord, are holding me up now and always. Amen.