How To Cope With Grief and Loss
Be Still And Know That There Is A Healer, There Is A God
My human language cannot sufficiently express the heart-break that I am feeling right now. My emotions are raw, so you’ve got to show me the way out of this place somehow.
The death of my loved one today has left me with this void, the feeling of emptiness and so much pain.
Dear Lord, touch my mind, my heart and my soul. Fill me with your words and your Spirit and please, make me whole.
You’ve sent me this word and you said, “Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.” (Psalm 46:10)
But I bear my nakedness before the world and confess that it is hard to be still when all around me in this dark valley, I see before me mountains and hills.
Why me? Why now? I’m feeling so out-of-place in this dark and lonely space.
But then, how could I not remember that you are the everlasting God and your Son Jesus Christ is King of kings and Lord of lords?
He died on Calvary’s cross, to save humanity, including a wretch like me so that we are saved and not lost.
So I lift my hands to believe again, for you are my refuge and my strength. You are my everlasting portion, your love is unconditional and it never ends.
What is grief?
Grief is the natural response to a loss. It is the emotional suffering when something or someone is taken away from you. The more significant the loss, the more intense the grief and the pain will be. Most times, we associate grief with the death or loss of a loved one, which is really most often the most intense type of grief. But there are many other kind of loss that can result in grief in your life. These include but are not limited to the following:
- Divorce or break-up from a relationship
- Loss of a friendship
- Loss of income or loss of financial stability
- Loss of your pet
- Loss of your job
- Retiring from a career you loved
- Shattered and unfulfilled dream
What are some of the myths about grief?
- If you ignore the pain it will go away faster
- You must be strong in the time of loss
- You don’t cry means you are not sorry for the loss
- Grief should last for no more than one year
What are the facts about grief? [numbers correspond to myths]
- For real healing it is necessary to face your grief and actively deal with it. If you don’t and bottle it up on the inside, it will be worst for you in the long run.
- Crying is NOT a sign of weakness. It is quite normal for you to cry, to feel sad and lonely – even afraid. Showing your true feelings will help you and also your family so no need to try to put on a ‘brave front.’
- While crying is a normal response to sadness or a loss, it is not the only way to demonstrate your hurt and your pain. If someone do not cry it does not mean they are not hurting, just that they have other ways of showing it.
- There is no right or wrong time frame specific to grieving. However long it takes differ from person to person and they should be allowed to do so. [Source: Center for Grief and Healing]
Does grieving have stages?
Research has shown that in 1969, psychiatrist Elisabeth Kubler-Ross introduced ‘the five stages of grief.’ Although is said to have been based on her studies of feelings of patients with terminal illness, many have since generalized it and have applied it within the context of the death of a loved one or a break up.
Here are the five stages of grief:
- Denial – “This can’t be happening to me.”
- Anger – “Why is this happening to me” Who is to blame?”
- Bargaining – “Make this not happen and in return I will _____
- Depression – “I’m too sad to do anything.”
- Acceptance – “I’m at peace with what happened.”
The developer of these 5 stages never intended for them to be a rigid framework because quite notably, some persons heal without going through any of these stages. However, if you or someone you know are going through these emotions following a loss, it is natural and with time, you will be healed.
HOW TO COPE WITH YOUR LOSS AND GRIEF
- Recognize that your feelings are real and they are normal – Lean on the Lord and turn your grief and pain and any feelings of guilt over to Him. Psalm 55:22 says, “Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you.”
- Draw comfort from your faith – prayer, meditating on the word of God will bring strength to you spiritually, emotionally and even physically. In 2 Corinthians 12:9 God’s word says, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (NIV)
- Get the support of others – this is the single most important factor in healing from loss. DO NOT isolate yourself. Get into a support group where you can express your feelings/emotions. Sharing how you feel with others, makes the burden a lot easier to bear.
- Talk to a grief counselor – if the grief becomes too much for you to bear, it is good to involve a mental health professional who have the training and experience with grief counseling.
- Take care of yourself – it is important to take care of yourself and to give your emotional and physical needs priority. It is normal when suffering a grief or loss that your energy level/energy reserves can be depleted through stress. Carefully plan your diet and eat right, drink lots of fluids, exercise and get enough sleep. Avoid alcohol or drugs to numb the pain or artificially remove it.
- Plan ahead for grief triggers – these are things such as anniversary, birthdays, holidays, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and milestones in your life with that person that can evoke memories and feelings. Talk it over with other family members and agree on strategies of how you would honor that person moving forward.
- Don’t let anyone tell you how to feel and don’t coach yourself into how you should feel either – no one can tell you when it’s time to move on or even to say to you ‘get over it.’ It is your grief. Cry if you have to, or don’t cry if that is not your way of dealing with grief/loss. It is okay to laugh and find moments of joy in things that you normally would find joy and happiness in. You will know when the time comes for you to let go and move on.
While this is by no means and exhaustive list, it provides the basic foundation for a move in the right direction and the journey to your healing and recovery. Dealing with grief and loss is a journey because the sadness and the pain that comes when you loose a loved one never goes away completely, and that too is okay.
In the year 2002, February 4th, I loss my mother. My grief process continues to this day and every time that Mother’s Day comes around, it is like an old wound opening up fresh again and I bleed, I hurt, I cry and I feel sad and numb.
Death has now added insult to my injury and have snatched away my oldest sister 2 days ago, Monday May 12th, 2014, just one day after Mother’s Day. I’m in the middle of my grief and my pain right now but one way of me coping with it, is to talk about it through this post. I believe that someone else out there is experiencing a loss and so it is my hope that by me reaching out to you this way, that you too will find strength and the courage to lift your hands and believe that God is our refuge and our strength, a present help in time of trouble.
God bless you!
Please leave a comment and share your thoughts on how you coped with your own grief and loss.
Hi Yvonne I. Wilson
It is human nature that we forget our days of happiness and always remember the days of troubles. Same happens to us when we face any loss or grief and wrongly assume now there is end of anything for us. We forget the fact that after night, day is obvious, after sun, shade is natural and after sorrows happiness is due.
If we adopt a positive thinking coping with grief and loss would be not a big task for us as you pointed out in your awesome post.
Thanks again for sharing this wonderful post.
Thank you for your kind words of encouragement. I will say that with each passing day, strength has definitely increased and the pain associated with the loss and grief is greatly reduced.
Happy that you connected and you took the time to read my blog and to leave a comment. God bless you.
May you feel the Lord’s presence carrying you. And may your health be restored.
Reblogged this on Empowerment Moments Blog and commented:
UPDATE: Just to let you our valued EMB readers know, everything went well with regards to the home going service and burial of my dear departed sister. My family and I continue to remain strong as we continue to trust and hope in the Almighty God. As promised, today May 26th 2014 should have been the day that I resume blogging. However, due to a personal illness that I am now dealing with and one that would require a minor surgical procedure, this blog’s publication will resume at a later date than planned. Sincerely regret any inconvenience caused. God bless you and thank you for your continued prayers.
I pray God gives you the strength to endure. You are an overcomer.
Thank you Vernon. God bless you.
Reblogged this on Becoming the Oil and the Wine and commented:
Last week I received the sad news of the sudden death of one of my professional colleagues. I know that there are many people who are still in shock and are trying to cope with the lost of their loved one. I therefore felt incline to re-blog this post which was written by Ms.Yvonne Wilson from Empowerment Moments Blog. She is a powerful woman of God whom God is using to do a mighty work in the Caribbean and the world.
I hope that you will find this post helpful in your time of grief and may God comfort you and give you peace.
What an informative & encouraging post! I pray that it blesses many. Thanks for sharing & for visiting my blog Doorkeeper. Blessings!
Thanks Renee, I am blessed by your presence and I humbly receive your kind words of encouragement and blessings…for the blessings of The Lord makes us rich and there is no sorrow with it. God bless you and happy to connect!
So sorry for your loss….and I do well understand what it means to lose a loved one having lost my mom years ago too. Some losses can never be forgotten, nor can you get over them. You just have to accept them and move on with life and learn to live for those who are in your life.
I had to do that for my kids as they were very small when I lost my mom and I know I was doing just what my mom would have wanted, had she been there. But just like you, whenever Mother’s Day comes around, I miss her the most. I wish she were around to guide me, though I know she is, a guardian angel around me all the time. Our loved ones don’t really leave us, they remain in spirit, isn’t it?
Thanks for sharing. God Bless you and give you peace 🙂
A warm welcome to my blog Harleena! Sorry to hear that you too have lost your mom. As we journey through life, we find mentors and we are able to take guidance and counsel from them, but the thing is, they still cannot replace Mothers. There is just something about our mom that as you said, we need them to be there to guide us.
True that when our loved ones leave us, they do have that lingering effect upon us, they remain in our hearts and our spirit and occasions such as birthday, or an anniversary or even the fun times that we had with them, we always remember.
Thank you for bring value to this post and for blessing us with your kind words of encouragement. Have a great day and God’s blessings upon you always! 🙂
Oh dear Yvonne … I’ve only just met you, but I hear your pain and I am so sorry for this severe loss. May the God of all comfort wrap you in His loving arms as you weep and write your way through this trial.
Thank you so much for stopping by Linda and for leaving this much needed encouragement which brings me hope for the upcoming days. I am even reminded at this time of a scripture in Isaiah 41 where God reminds us not to be afraid, and that He is with us. He also says not to be dismayed for He is our God, the one who will strengthen and uphold us with His righteous right hand.
It is confirmation that God will indeed release His full strength in me as my family and I go through the next step in the process and this trial..
God bless you!
I have always loved this beautiful song.
Thank you for making this connection and for following my blog. The song really brought me comfort as I listened to it a couple of times – a great source of encouragement.
Have a wonderful day! 🙂