Death…An event that affects all of us at some point of our life, yet when it’s our turn to grieve the loss of someone close, it seems impossible to bear.
Many of us are blessed with close relationships that we have spent years nurturing to the point of LOVE. Creating this type of closeness gives us fulfillment in so many areas of our life. We cherish the time spent with these individuals, and even see them as a very interracial part of our life. They help us grow, cheer us up, and many are responsible in contributing towards the type of person that we have become.
This blessing of a deep loving relationship can have a very challenging consequence…Having to say goodbye when they leave this earth. Learning of their death is DEVASATING!! It is a feeling like no other. We become numb, heartbroken, depressed, and at times.. Inconsolable. So, how do we get through this time?
Let me begin by suggesting that your deep sorrow emotions up front are very normal. You have lost someone very close to you. You should feel sad, and take this time to grieve. No matter how tough we think we are, allowing these emotions to come out is essential as we work through our loss. Grant yourself permission to be emotional. Avoid “shelfing” these emotions that come with death.
Family and close friends are also a source of eventual healing. Find someone close to you, and tell them what you are feeling. There is so much power in getting your thoughts out of your mind by expressing them out loud to another. “It’s not fair.. It hurts so much… I miss them dearly…I need your help” are all important communication expressions which will begin to replace the shattered pieces of your heart.
If you are on the other side of trying to comfort someone who is grieving, let me remove the biggest obstacle that we all have in asking, “What do I say to someone who just experienced the death of a loved one?” …IT’S NOT WHAT YOU SAY!
No one has the ability to say magical words and make the hurt go away. So, why do we stress out thinking that we have to rehearse something that will snap them out of grieving? The magic lies in LISTENING. Express your love. Pray for them. Stay in contact.. but let them do all of the talking. Let them tell you how they feel.
Avoid the phrase, “I know how you feel.” The worst thing that you want to do is stop that person from expressing their feelings. By suggesting that you know how that person feels, there is really no need for them to continue conveying their feelings. You’ve essentially stopped the healing process.
When you are going through the worst experience of your life, you want others to hear and know what your journey is like. You can find great comfort in sharing these thoughts with a trusted friend.
There are no hard fast rules regarding grieving. You be the one to make the decisions.
When my son died, I found comfort in sharing memories of him with others. Yet, to this day, I cannot look at pictures or videos when he was a child… It’s simply too difficult. So, I spend my efforts in remembering him specific to areas that leave me feeling good, rather than taking me to a sad place.
After a period of time, you will notice that grieving is not 24 / 7, but comes in waves. Life can very well resume to a somewhat normal state… That is some good news. When the grieving wave returns, take this time not to be sad… but identify it as a time to “be with” them.
I love to remember flying high off of the sand dunes with my son, as we rode 4-wheelers in the Little Sahara most weekends during the Spring and Fall. Or, skiing, and all the adventures that we shared as a family. Reliving these memories is comforting to me. It keeps him a part of my life. I am grateful that we had the chance to share so many fun times together.
For those of you who are not able to get beyond the grasp of despair while grieving, it’s time to look for additional assistance with your medical provider. “Situational Depression” can result due to your loss. Treating this with appropriate medication can be a boost toward healing, and certainly does not mean that these medications will necessarily be needed long-term.
Take a moment through this process to acknowledge how strong you are. Losing a loved one is incredibly difficult, and you are working through the challenge. At first, again, it’s ok to totally fall apart… There usually is not strength that you can identify with, but over months… you might even surprise yourself that you are making progress. It is during those times to give yourself the recognition of strength.
Ask God for His help. You will find that He is there. I invite all of you to run towards Him, rather than away from Him when you are faced with the death of someone close. There can be some “life-changing” spiritual experiences that happen to you. Depend on Him. He is waiting to wrap His arms around you and provide the comfort that you are looking for and need.
As time goes by, you will look back and realize that your loss has given you a priceless gift. That gift, among others, is empathy. You know what it feels like to be pushed to the very brink of sadness. You can now use this gift in your relationship with others. It might not be specific to death, but others in your life are facing difficulties. You have developed some skills to assist others through their journey.
Finally, let me finish by once again saying that, healing in most aspects of life, occurs when YOU reach out to others, rather than waiting for others to reach out to you. I cannot stress this enough! This is the constant theme of this blog. I invite you to lose yourself in the service of others… It is then you will realize the feelings that you have been looking for.