How To Cope With Grief
Loss Of A Parent
Grief is something we will all encounter at some point in our lives, if we live long enough. Each experience is unique but alike in many ways. One loss that most of us will have to endure is the loss of our parents. Losing one or both of the people who have always been there in ways that absolutely nobody else has can be devastating.
When a mom or dad passes away it brings to a lot of us feelings of abandonment. Even though we may be all grown up, we suddenly feel orphaned, left to fend for ourselves in this great big world. Some people experience anger toward their parent for leaving and God for allowing it. Regrets for so many words left unsaid and things left undone can overwhelm us and prevent healing from taking place if we allow it.
Loss Of A Spouse
Losing your life partner can be devastating. Whether your time together was short or you'd had decades to get to know and enjoy each other. When you wake up that first morning at the usual time and realize that you will never wake him for work again, it's absolutely gut wrenching. Or you reach for her in the night and wake up remembering that this nightmare is real. You have to keep moving forward, especially if you have children. But how is it possible to ever have a normal life again when you are so lonely and lost?
Loss Of A Sibling
Your brothers and sisters have shared more of your life than anyone else in the world. They know you through and through as you do them. Maybe you fought like cats and dogs as kids but would defend each other against anyone else in a heartbeat. They alone share the same history as you, the same passed down family stories and misadventures. When death takes one of them it leaves a huge hole in your heart and in your mind. Nothing will ever be quite the same.
Loss Of A Child
To have to relinquish your child must be the most hurtful of all losses. Your baby that you brought into this world and in some cases guided through childhood, the teen years and young adulthood, should not leave this world before you do. Unfortunately they sometimes do. Our job is to protect them but we are helpless against the ultimate enemy, death. How do we keep living and breathing without them?
How Do You Go On?
There is no short cut through the pain and emptiness that losing someone we love brings. We can't go around the mountain of regrets, what ifs and bittersweet memories that block our path to wholeness. We have to somehow stumble our way through them all, but how? The all important first step is remembering that we are not alone though we feel profound loneliness at times. God is a very real and present help and we need to lean on His strength every minute of every day. When you find yourself lying on the grass under your name on a double gravestone and you just want to stay there with the one you were supposed to grow old with, pray for help. The gentle reminder that there is still much work to be done comes from God, an answer to your prayer.
One minute at a time is all you need to deal with. Don't make any important decisions right away because you won't be able to think straight for a while. Give yourself time to grieve. Don't suppress your emotions and pretend you're okay when you really need to cry, scream and vent your feelings. Go for a long drive on a country road and scream at the top of your lungs. If you have children, keep in mind that they grieve differently than adults. They are individuals so they won't all react the same way but there seems to be a pattern most of them follow when grieving. They may seem to be fine after a little while then suddenly dissolve into tears months later. They may revisit the profound feelings of loss that they initially felt many, many times. Just keep reassuring and comforting them,it will gradually get better.
One day when you least expect it, a long forgotten feeling of joy will return. You'll feel the sun on your face, really enjoy a good meal, read a good book and not feel guilty. There will always be moments when suddenly the familiar ache in your heart returns. Your song playing on the radio, the smell of fried potatoes like Mommy used to make, a little blonde head in the summer sun, Old Spice wafting on the winter breeze or old photos of long ago Christmases. You don't ever get over losing someone you love but you can regain your zest for life and peace in knowing that this life on Earth is not all there is. Each day takes us one step closer to Home and a glorious reunion with the ones we are missing. The time spent here on Earth is just a prelude to what God has in store for us, eternity to make up for the separation we're suffering through now.