Death and grief -- a personal journey -- one day at a time.
Each loss we experience in life is thought to prepare us to better handle a future loss. The fact remains that the very word loss indicates sorrow and pain.
Grief in personal and real. It changes us, and the way we think.
Life takes us through the trenches during grief.
Grief arrives in all different forms.
- The death of a baby in the womb.
- The unplanned end of a relationship.
- Loss of a job.
- The death of a significant person, such as a mother.
We can not escape grieving in our lifetime.
Every loss we experience takes us through a period of grief. The more invested we are in the loss, the more it impacts our life.
Grief and loss transport us to a place of mourning, despair, anguish and pain. Although one would think that each loss would help to prepare us for the next loss. Each loss is so unique, it is likely nothing can truly prepare us for it.
Each loss is unique in the way it affects our life. The loss of a baby in the womb is private, and lonely. Even in early pregnancy, the loss a baby represents loss of a future and a hope. Many times the mother, the one carrying the baby, is the only person the loss is real for. Sometimes this affects fathers in a very deep way as well.
With loss in the womb, there is no funeral, no memorial, and in early pregnancy loss, not even a body to say goodbye to. Support is vitally important with all grief, but this particular grief can be very isolating.
With loss in relationships, the pain is once again unique. It may be a friend who decides to stop being a friend, stop returning phone calls and all but disappears from your life. With no explanation of why. Our mind wanders from one thing to the next, trying to figure out what we may have done or not done to cause the person to act in such a drastic way.
The truth is, you may not have done anything, and someone choosing to walk out of our life was really never invested in who we are. It seems they are the one who is troubled, enough to walk away without grieving the relationship they give up.
Other relationship losses we choose because it is the best thing for us or our family. These are losses nonetheless, and grief is part of the healing process.
The loss of a significant person, such as a spouse or a fiance, boyfriend/girlfriend is a tremendous pain to overcome. When the loss of this person is due to a betrayal, or their choosing to leave the relationship, once again, we find ourselves questioning "why"?
While all loss and grief is unique to one another, the one shared element is the feeling that "I may not survive this pain" or "I don't want to survive this pain".
How then, do we "survive" loss and grief?
I can say with all sincerity that my early days of loss and grief caused me to seek God in a whole new level. Although I felt alone, betrayed, disillusioned, the only thing that made sense was running to God. And yet, I knew He could have changed the outcome so that I was not in a place of loss, but didn't? God is the only constant in our life. He decides when life begins, and when it ends. What sense does it make to run from the One who gave us life?
If there were answers to be found, I knew the answers would come from God. And yet, no answers rushed to me.
I did cry, talk and cry some more. Until I felt there were no more tears remaining.
Counseling is a very large part of recovering from grief. In my early years, I was not equipped with the ability of find my way through grief on my own. Counseling helped me inch forward through the process, even when I didn't really feel like it.
No matter the loss, and how many times we experience loss, each loss will cause us to search deep within ourselves for strength to sometimes just get out of bed in the morning.
Crying, fatigue, loss of desire, are all part of a normal grieving process.
These symptoms are not just part of early grief, it may be months or years into grieving a loss when you have a setback and find yourself emotional, fatigued and unable to even complete the most simple task.
The most common advice I received was 'give yourself time", "go easy on yourself". What does that really mean? It's not as if we are able to stop parenting, or working or living a normal day-to-day life for two years because that is what we think it will take to get through.
I have learned that the best way to decipher these words of wisdom is to go easy on yourself.
If you are having a very emotional day, be honest with yourself, and with others.
If you are not able to maintain a clear thought and work is overwhelming, you must be honest with your workplace, and usually you will be met with compassion.
Fatigue has you feeling the need to stay in bed all day? Sometimes, you need to do just that. Rest, reflect, cry and heal.
And while all of these things are ways of coping with grief, one of the most important things I have found is that we should not isolate ourselves for a long period of time. Isolation for long periods is from the enemy of our souls. We begin to feel all alone, that we have no one who cares or needs us.
In fact, one of the best things to do when this feeling of isolation creeps in is to get out and talk to others, even a grocery store clerk. Or get out a do a kind act for someone who is unsuspecting. While not always possible, kind acts done for others have a way of bringing joy into our heart, even if for a fleeting moment.
Finally, I must say again, the only way I truly was able to recover from my own losses and grieving was to cling to God with all that was within me. I believe it is God who sent the help into my life to see me through the most difficult times I have faced.
God is there, we need only to ask.
May God comfort you today, and grant you the healing and peace you are seeking.