A lot of conversations I've had with friends lately have involved denial. And all of them had negative impacts not only on the people in denial, but also their loved-ones around them. When I thought about what denial means to me, I define it as deception to one's self, whether intentional or not...it's still a lie. Many times I think we confuse being in denial with having faith, but that's not true at all. Usually with denial there is inaction, whereas faith requires action--usually involving prayer and constant searching for truth.
It didn't take long for me to deal with denial and see how negatively it impacted my family.
My real experience with denial was 28 weeks pregnant with my first child and I had all the symptoms of labor, but I refused to believe that I would be having this baby already. I was just going to work through it and deny the signs. Once I was finally convinced to go to my doctor, my life changed drastically when I gave birth to a preemie. It still didn't seem real to me, I just kept thinking that this little 2lb, 14oz boy would be just fine and come home from the hospital shortly and not have anything wrong. It did no good to believe that. That didn't stop him from coming home 6 weeks later on oxygen, needing surgeries and developmental therapy for the next 3 years. Each day I was crushed. I didn't want to believe this was happening to my child. But truth was the truth and I had to deal with it. Once I began to live in reality and accept it, I saw it wasn't so bad. God put people in my path that helped us along the way. Denial only made life harder.
Good thing I started living in the now because 4 years later it was deja vu all over again! But this time it was 27 weeks pregnant with twins. I thought this can't be happening to me again! This pregnancy I took precautions to prevent preterm delivery, but whatever, it happened. But this time my perspective had changed. I had seen God do the impossible with my first child and I knew that if I sought His direction, He wouldn't fail. It may not be in the way that I expect, but when I surrender to His will, then He is in control. The twins were in the hospital longer and it was a rockier road. Still had very similar experiences as far as surgeries and therapy goes, but I dealt with it much better.
My mom was 50 years old and died, 3 weeks after the twins were born, from breast cancer. My dad was in total shock. He admitted that he didn't believe she would really succumb to cancer. He was devastated to lose her, but also felt like it was a lack of faith on his part. They sought treatment. They prayed and asked for God's will to be done...and ultimately His will was done. We were created to serve Him and she had. Our human bodies are destructible and destined to die...and she did. Living in denial during my mom's illness and after her death took a toll on my dad. He refused to believe she was really sick and couldn't believe she was taken away. But what good did all that thinking do? No good. He is slowly going back to church and having a relationship with God as his Father again. And his outlook is changing. He enjoys doing things with our family because we are here. I'm not in any way saying that mourning is wrong, but it's not bringing her back.