Recently there have been a few people who I have been connected with that are experiencing much grief. A wife of one of my dad’s friends just passed away due to cancer leaving the husband to raise their ten-year old girl. A member of our church had a friend to die in an accident, leaving behind two children and a spouse. A sudden death can be more difficult to grieve because there is no warning and no chance to say good-bye and begin to prepare for the loss.
Funerals are always rough on all of us. My mother said she doesn’t want one and wants to be buried the same day she dies. She says funerals are a waste of time and money and that people just come and talk to one another. “If they wanted to see me, they should have come to see me when I was alive”. I told my mother that it won’t matter to her anyway cause she will be gone and me and my brother will decide that and that people need a chance to say their good byes. People want to pay their respect and people need to grieve. It is hard to think that you might one day lose your parents, your children or your spouse but each day brings us all closer to death. No one wants to think of death in fear of the loss and the pain it will bring for the survivors.
People experience different types of losses in their life and as a counselor you get to see and hear many stories of loss. Loss comes from different things and so does grief. It is not always at the death of a loved one but also can be loss of a job, loss of a marriage or loss because of illness. Grief is intense emotional suffering caused by a loss. Grief is very painful and such a lingering process. It is a journey that can last one to three years or for some a lifetime journey.
Grief is actually a complex set of emotions, all which are normal. Many things such as feelings, thoughts, attitudes are affected but also socially as they interact with others, physical as it affects their health. People who grieve don’t want to just get over it or want to be cheered up but need to express their thoughts and feelings. Sometimes grieving person may feel guilty or feel as though they are being punished in which can be projected onto God or others.
The goal of grieving is not get to get things back to normal because one’s life may change but the goal is to find and accept a new “normal”.
The stages of grief can come and go and or not always in a certain order and may be experienced more than one at a time. They are denial or shock which feelings are put on hold in the ‘numb’ stage. Anger is often released upon God or people in the form with talking or withdraw from others for a time. Bargaining with God usually comes with negotiations, asking God for things to change or why. Depression hits with a time to beat oneself up with emotions as they blame themselves for not some how preventing the loss feeling disorganized and don’t know how to move on with life. Then the last stage is acceptance with reorganizing their life, filling new roles and reconnecting with those around them as they express the pain with denial or avoidance from others.
If you yourself are grieving over a loss in your life just remember these points. Be patient and give yourself time to heal emotionally. Keep a routine, get rest and direct your energies toward healing. Maintain relationships and let others comfort you and share in your journey toward healing. Don’t become isolated from people but seek connection with others. The intensity of your pain is normal and eventually it will subside but may not never disappear. Move forward by experiencing the grief while at the same time rejoice in living through acts of giving and receiving. Remember not to think about the “what ifs” and wishing that things could be different, but redirect energy and focus on healing. Allow the Holy Spirit to work in your life and comfort you through not only through the times of grief and loss but everyday.
Prayer: Lord I pray that you will comfort those who have experienced great loss and pain in their lives. Help me to help others deal with the loss and teach us how to comfort others. In Jesus Name. Amen.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4 New Living Translation (©2007)
All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.
Isaiah 53:3 New American Standard Bible (©1995)
He was despised and forsaken of men, A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; And like one from whom men hide their face He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.