I didn’t even realize that bargaining was a stage when I went through it. This happened a couple of weeks after the funeral when I would do anything not to feel this pain.
The beginning looked something like IF ONLY’s and WHAT IF’s
IF ONLY I had planned something to do that day so he didn’t go hiking.
IF ONLY he had to work that day.
Or I could even take something that seemed bad at the beginning but then it prevented the result like- WHAT IF he had run out of gas on the way there?
Or better yet
WHAT IF he hated hiking?
I wanted so badly to go back in time and fix whatever went wrong. Then it turned to plead with God in my closet (which is the only place I can go to find peace where my kids can’t find me quickly to bug me -besides locking my car in the garage) so I could pray. Or plead. It went something like this “God I know you have let other people be raised from the dead. Like Lazarus. It’s in the scriptures. I know you make miracles happen and all I am asking is to bring Jay back from the dead. We can just say we thought he was dead. Or oops it was the wrong person we found up in the desert that was dead. I’m sure YOU can come up with an excuse or a miracle. I have faith! Let me see this mighty miracle!”
I really thought it could happen when I asked. Then this immense pain would go away and I could return to my normal life. Come on- I am raising my white flag for peace! Let’s negotiate something here! God is a God of miracles. AND I am a woman of faith and will be good for the rest of my life, so bring it on!
Surprise, that miracle didn’t happen. A day or two later I realized this bargain wasn’t quite going to work. At least this thinking was a great distraction from the pain. My mind finally caught up with my heart when I realized this was my reality. My miracle was going to have to be something else.
Should I feel guilty for not changing the course of the day?
It took years to know that I could have tried to keep him from driving there that day. I could have prevented him from ever hiking. But this is what he loved. It was one of the only things that made him happy. Life was living and doing those things we love. So I can keep my kids penned up in my house for the rest of their life so nothing happens to them, but would that be living? Would that be finding joy? Absolutely not. None of us can prevent tragedies. It’s part of living and living is risky! Now I accept that accidents happen. I am not sure why, but they do and if we can change the meaning of those tragedies for something good, then I can turn this around in my mind and start looking again for joy.
But going through the sequence of events in my mind and asking the hard questions is what made it possible to move on and away from the bargaining stage. You have to go through the stages – if it’s only for a few moments, so just let it happen, be present, watch it and write it in your journal. This too shall pass…