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.