"Grief only comes in one size - EXTRA LARGE!"
"Where there is grief, there is holy ground."
"Grief is a passage, not a place to stay. Grief is not a sign of weakness or a lack of faith, it is the price of love."
Grief is not a state of being, it's a journey. Are you equipped for the journey?
Since 2002, I have accumulated a great deal of information about grief. Most of what I share about grief is from personal experience. I have put quotation marks around all comments and quotes that are not original and give credit where credit is due as am able to research the author(s).
Grieving Is . . . as natural as crying when you are hurt, sleeping when you are tired and eating when you are hungry.
Grieving is a natural and healthy way to express sorrow and pain that we might experience a measure of relief and healing.
Everyone experiences loss - everyone!
Some people are afraid to admit that they have been affected by loss, because they don't want to be perceived as weak or needy.
Some people fear, avoid and ignore their personal sufferings and the sufferings of others, because they are uncomfortable admitting that suffering is a part of the human condition.
Some people try to escape pain, sorrow and suffering by turning to food, alcohol, drugs, sex and other so-called quick fixes that unfortunately will leave them feeling more lonely and empty.
Some people want to heal and they seek comfort, hope, encouragement and support, and in the process they experience a renewed sense of peace.
Some people, in response to their loss and sufferings, become more caring, compassionate and loving in the process.
Because grief affects our heart, soul, mind, body and spirit, it is important that we are aware of how grief is affecting us, as we hope for relief and healing.
Quiet times spent in reflection, prayer and journaling can be very helpful, as we make a commitment to "truthfully express our grief." Our honest, truthful expression of grief is not always easy and we often do not know how to begin.
I encourage you to make time to sit, reflect & write your responses to some or all of the following statements about grief by various professional and bereavement opinions and experiences? There is something therapeutic and helpful in our healing when we write our feelings and emotions . . . just let the words flow naturally.
God has promised that He will wipe away all tears in heaven (Revelation 7:17), but until then the healing will be incomplete.
"God truly is the only one who can wipe every tear from our eyes, and one day He will . . . the story of our loss can only be completed in eternity. While we may not understand it, God is still writing each word with love. He promises to give us strength, peace and hope for each page. His Son died for us so that our sorrows could be healed and we could be in a place without pain forever. Christ's final words on the Cross were "It is finished." And on the day He wipes away the last tear from our eyes, those will be the closing word in the story of our heartahes as well." -Dave Brannon
"Just as gold is purified by fire, so can the human heart be purified by suffering." -Unknown
“Wounds are part of life, but the God who heals wounds is a much deeper reality. Seek the deeper reality; seek God - the Doctor of our soul.” -Unknown
“Be open to your suffering and hurt. Your human frailty can be the gate through which the God of love is found.” -Unknown
"We need permission to grieve, and if we are not given permission to grieve by others, we must give ourselves permission to grieve that we might heal." - Unknown
“Let your tears flow forth honestly, within your own soul, with trusted persons and before God. Releasing your tears opens the window to healing.” -Unknown
“Stay in touch with all the turmoil in your heart; anxiety, denial, fear, anger, sudden shifts between hope and despair. Your true feelings are the clearest channels you have for dialoguing with God and other loving friends.” “ . . . warm yourself with nature, music, art, humor and laughter.” -Unknown
Because, we get so caught up in our grief, we may forget to breathe, eat, sleep and relax. Deep, slow breathing can strengthen a broken heart. Shallow breathing causes headaches, back pain, indigestion and depression. Be aware of how you are breathing and be intentional about breathing deeply. If you are feeling sad, lonely or especially tired, take in a deep beath, take a walk, tone muscles, stretch, reach get up, get dressed and get moving.
When we breathe in deeply, get up, get dressed and get moving, we will most likely eat, sleep and grieve better.
Listen to Your Body - it can tell us something about our health and state of mind
"The grieving mind will protect itself from overload. If grief hit all at once, no could stand it." -Doug Manning
Are you experiencing aches and pains?
Are you eating and sleeping too much or too little?
Are you getting enough exercise and/or sunlight?
Are you depending on and using too much alcohol or drugs to mask your pain?
Are you neglecting the basics of good nutrution?
Physical Affects of Grief
*Rapid heart rate
*Lingering colds and low-grade fevers
Emotional Affects of Grief
Spiritual Affects of Grief
*Challenges in beliefs
*Tests of faith
*Draws us closer to God
*Takes us away from God
Myths Concerning Grief - True or False? (answers provided by various bereavement professionals)
*Grief and grieving are the same (False) - Grief is the inward feelings of sorrow and pain, grieving is outward expression of sorrow.
*God has given us a natural process called grieving to help heal our broken heart. (True)
*Ignoring our need to grieve leads to behaviors that can hurt rather than heal. (True)
*The experience of grief and grieving progress in orderly stages (False) - Grief comes in no particular order.
*It is better to move away from grief than moving toward it (False) - We must embrace the pain of loss in order to find relief and heal.
*The goal should be that I "get over" my grief as soon as possible (False) - To the extent that we love that will be the extent that we grieve.
*It is not healthy to cry and sobbing is not normal (False) - Crying and sobbing is a natural, normal and necessary part of grieving.
*Everyone grieves in the same way (False) - Each person's grief is unique, as we and our child are unique.
*If I can explain why the death happened, the pain will go away. (False) - Explaining death will not take the away the pain connected to it.
*People who grieve outwardly are seen as weak and self-pitying (True/False) - In our culture, this has been somewhat true, but this dattitude is changing.
*Too often, it feels like we have to fight for the right to grieve. (True) - People do not know what to do or say, so they may try to take our grief away.
*People who get on with their lives and forget about their grief are strong and healthy (False) - Those who try to forget are in denial.
*Greiving should be done alone (False) - We find an extra measure of comfort and strength in sharing our grief with others.
*Embracing the pain of our grief helps in our healing (True) - We must accept the reality and pain of our loss fully in order to truly heal.
*I must get busy and fill up my time with activity (False) - Busyness may delay our need for grieving and postponing it can make things worse.
*Tears always result in a feeling of helplessness (False) - Tears most often provide relief for our heart, soul, mind and body.
*I have to pick myself up and start all over again (True/False) - This is a trypical Western culture response to loss. Though we must create a "new normal," the idea of "starting all over again" can actually be a stumbling block in our healing. Surrendering and yielding to grief is actually what is needed most in our journey through grief.
Something About Grief- Doug Manning
"No one can tell you about grief, about it limitless boundaries, it's unfathomable depths.
Grief is a journey . . . we move from seeing the person by sight to seeing them in our memories.
At first, the memories may be painful and every memory breaks our hearts.
Gradually, they help us establish the significance of our loss.
Time time, our memories become our most precious possessions.
The memories wrap themselves around our being and our loved one is reborn inside our hearts.
Where there is sorry, there is holy ground.
A large chunk has been torn from youro heart and it will not grow back.
You will not "get over it" and forget. The hole in your heart will not heal over,
but you can find ways to sew around it to keep it from tearing your whole heart apart."
A Holy Potpourri - Patsy Clairmont
"I'm impressed with the rose because of its fruitful existence. It begins as a bud, which has a beauty all its own; gracefully unfolds into velvet overlays; and then, with its last breath, when crushed, it leaves a heady fragrance and drips precious oil.
As we consider the beauty and grace of the rose, we're not surprised to discover that Jesus is called the Rose of Sharon.
He was born a bud of a babe in a manger; His beauty unfolded before others with each humble step He took; and His last breaths on earth, with thorns pressed into His head, after being crushed by our sins, He shed His precious drops of His blood and released a forever fragrance of love . . . that sacrifice, Christ's broken body, now calls us to receive the crushing blows of life as a way for His fragrance to be released through us - a holy potpourri. Take a shattered heart, mixed with a crushed spirit, intermingle with Christ's oil of mercy, stir with His healing touch, and season with divine love."
Picture God on Your Side -Joyce Rupp, O.S.M.
"The way we picture God hs much to do with the way we walk with God during our time of loss. It is helpful to picture God as being on our side rather than against us or responsible for our suffering. Harold Kushner tells us in his book When Bad Things Happen to Good People that 'God does not send suffering to us, rather, suffering and loss are a result of the human condition.' Picturing God as One who is on our side is a strong Biblical image.God will never abandon us or forget us. God has great compassion for us, yearning for our peace and joy. Many writers see God as suffering with us, walking the road of our grief, having infinite concern for us. As we pray during our time of grief, we can picture God sitting by our side looking upon us with much love, or walking with us and listening to our story of sorrow."
Look for God in Unexpected Ways
We have a tendency to look for God in ways that are familiar to us and because grieving the loss of a child is unfamiliar to us, we may think that God is somehow absent from us or even punishing us. Because pain and sorrow and unfamiliarity of our situation and circumstances, we may not notice that God is with us in unexpected ways. It may be evidence through the kindness of someone who sends us a card, an email or makes a phone call to see how we are going. It could be the beauty of the night sky when we cannot sleep, the song of a bird at dawn, the falling of God's glittered treasury of snow, the comfort of a warming fire, the soothing words of a loved one wrapping their arms around us. I read about one woman who was in much grief who "looked out her window one day and saw a spider spinning a web. The threads were met with dew and sparkled in the sunlight. As she gazed on this inticiate wonder, she saw her own life woven into God's heart. This insight filled her with peace for the first time in many months." When these things happen, our hearts are lifted and and bring a deep sense of closeness to God.
What is Needed in Grief and Suffering - Steve Christen, "Dads Like Me"
Perhaps what is needed isn't sharing our strength, but our weakness.
Not expecting or giving remedy and solution, but being present to the pain and suffering of another.
Our natural instinct is to find something we can do. What is really needed is for us to simply BE.
It is a humbling stance of being present to another person's pain. Our gift resides in offering support to someone in the face
of a harsh reality that isn't going to be resolved.
It is our personal poverty that makes us truly valuable to others. It is our deficiency that provides solace in the face of life's mystery.
What is required is an aspect of ourselves that we are not used to giving. It is drawn from a reserve of weakness, impotence and an
acknowledgement of our frail human condition. No easy answer, no ready solution, little ability to fix and solve. Our only gift is the
prospect of whare our frail imitations with another. Oddly enough, it proves to be sufficient.
Be Compassionate with Yourself
When you encounter painful thoughts and feelings of loss and grief . . .
*Don't judge yourself.
*Don't try to set a specific time or course for healing.
*Let your feelings be free from control or criticism.
*Let yourself (your new grieving self) be who you are for now.
*Say to yourself 'I am mourning the death of my child and I need compassion and comfort."
*Find ways to soothe and take care of yourself that will encourage and promote healing.
Unruly Mess of Mystery - Henri Nouwen
"When we honestly ask ourselves which people in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it those who, instead of giving advice, solutions or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing, and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, THAT is a friend who cares"
Prayer is Essential to our Healing
By God's design, prayer is essential to our physical, emotional and spiritual health. Research concludes that prayer lowers our blood pressure and helps relieve stress. Prayer forces us to put our thoughts in order and our feelings into words. Prayer helps us to focus on something other than our inner pain and it reminds us that someone else is in charge and is sovereign over the world and our lives. "If you are feeling spiritually empty, you are at the brink of a special opportunity to deepening your love relationship with God. In those moments, when you feel like giving up, hang in there and pray. A passionate, loving God is pursuing you - a God who experienced agony in the garden, the betrayal of those closest to Him, the abandonment of the Cross only to rise to new life! It is when we are completely empty that God can best fill us with new and abundant life." -Stephen Hrycyniak
Grievers Prayer - Angie Cartwright, "Grief Unspoken."
Please hear my prayer.
My body is numb and my mind is racing.
My heart is shattered and my world upside down.
I am hopeless and scarwed.
So many memories, but yet not enough.
The world keeps moving and I am frozen.
I feel connected to nothing and no one.
There are many around me, but the one I desire is not here.
I feel cold, lost and purposeless.
I'm so tired but unable to sleep.
Please hold me, hold me tight.
The color of my world is gone.
I cry out to You in despair.
Oh, God! Why?
Please God, I will try to rest, close my rest, close my eyes,
find courage to fight another day, find purpose in my life, find hope again.
Please hear my prayer."
Serenity Prayer for Grievers - Rev. Kendrick Moore
God grant me the strength to keep moving, when I can
The grace to rest, when I need to rest
And, the wisdom to know the difference.
Missing You Always! - Unknown
"You never said "I'm leaving."
You never said "Goodbye."
You were gone before we knew it.
And only God knows why.
In life I loved you dearly.
In death I love you still.
In my heart I hold a place
That only you can fill.
It broke my heart to lose you
But, you didn't go alone.
A part of me went with you
The day that God took you Home."