One of the most popular ways to codify our grief is via five well-known stages: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. The trouble with this method is that it puts a spectrum of feelings in five distinct boxes—like grief is some checklist to tick off in order to get over our lamentations. Not only do each of these stages take different amounts of time for different people, but there are other emotions mixed in and layered on top of the grief as well. We can empathize with those who are going through hard times, but we can never truly know what they’re going through. Those on the outside of a person’s grief need to be patient as the individual comes to terms with their lament. Those going through this grief cycle should know that it’s natural to grieve: let it happen.
Layers of Lament by Kerri Donaldson
Artist Statement: Lament, bewail, cry, grieve, hurt, mourn, sob, sorrow, wail, weep…these are all emotions that plague our human condition—emotions that are distorted, broken and layered. Jesus is familiar with our pain and he reaches out to comfort us, just as he did with the women of Jerusalem on his way to the cross. Incredibly, he was half-dead, walking to a horrible, painful death, and he stops to comfort others. Truly, Jesus is the Man of Sorrows who understands our grief!