With the holiday season upon me (okay, it’s well past the holidays but it took me a while to finish this topic) I have been trying to force myself to write a happy, cheery message. However, I have struggle and grief laden topics on my mind. Perhaps I am a pessimist. I don’t know. I think I am a realist and this is what is on my mind and heart so, I’d like to share a few messages about the toll that grief takes on a person and on a family. I have sat on this topic for over a month and can’t quite avoid it any longer or go around it. Now is the time to deal with the issue of grief. I think this will be a series of messages that I hope will by the end of the series give us some helpful and healthy ways to look at and process the grief we experience. This third section is written with the hope and intention to give some suggestions on helpful ways to process and move through the different aspects of grief we experience and that were discussed in parts I & II.
In Part II, we talked about the 5 Stages of Grief…denial & isolation, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. I usually try to have some sort of orderly fashion to my writing but, grief as I stated in the last blog post, is not orderly at all. In fact, disorderly is the name of the game when it comes to grief. You may experience them in cycles going through each phase more than once, staying in one phase longer than the other or skipping a particular phase all together. How we experience grief is as different as the individuality that each life represents. At a still perplexing level, after having said that, there is something so common about grief that we can help one another get through the grief. On a most basic level, having the comfort, the support and the presence of another human being is such a comfort in times of grief.
- I would say, sharing the extent or at least the reason for your grief with someone is a helpful and healthy thing to do so as not to isolate yourself. If you are not sure who to share with perhaps a counselor can be a non-objective start to your sharing of your thoughts and feelings.
- Seeing a counselor will get you in the habit of talking about the grief you are experiencing. You will continue to express grief with them and perhaps in the long run have a better handle on being able to talk with others in your inner circle of friends. Do ing this will keep you out of or bring you out of the chronic isolation that so often leads to depression.
- As far as the subjects of bargaining (with Higher Power) and being angry (with whomever) are concerned, this is where a relationship with Higher Power, or God, is a critical step that needs to be made during the course of your life. When grief strikes, lashing out at God or other people will ultimately leave you empty and unsatisfied. Anger is not the cure for disappointment or missing someone but forgiveness and having an understanding of the sovereignty of God is everything. Literally everything! The ability to tap into the power of forgiveness is supernatural. The ability to make sense out of something that seems so incomprehensible is supernatural. I believe, that the beginning of a close relationship with God is to simply ask. Just like you would ask someone out on a date that you want to spend time with. Let the Lord know you are open to His company and His guidance and to open your heart and eyes to know Him. Paraphrasing Psalm 145:18, the Lord is near to all who call on Him.
- Your heart and mind can only be settled enough to come to acceptance when your spirit is settled about that grief. Unlike the loopy loo that grief sends you through, being settled is steady and assured. Acceptance doesn’t mean that you don’t miss that which you grieve, it just means that you are not stuck in time at the point of grief. You are able to grieve and move forward. Like a wounded soldier, it means that if you have any chance of recovery you have got to get back to the base where the infirmary is located. The infirmary, is it a literal place or a spiritual or emotional place? I want to say, all of the above. You do what you have to do and go where you have to go to get that healing that you need. Some people have found that there was some place that they need to actually go. For example, after my friend’s father died, she went on the mission trip that she had wanted to go on. I am sure that getting away brought her some mental healing just to be able to have a change of pace but also, she met her husband on that trip. His friendship and love brought her another layer of healing in her grieving process. So, the grief didn’t end but, she was able to move toward a healthy place where she continued to get healing inspire of her grief. In the midst of your grief, are you being compelled to go somewhere or do something that you’ve really been wanting to do? Perhaps there is healing for you in whatever that is? Just my thoughts…
As I type, I am planning to review this myself. I think there is healing for you and I in the words on this page. It is my sincere desire that this is helpful to someone…even one person. Hit me up, leave a message on the post or the inbox to share your thoughts on this or the previous two blogs about the grief process.