The growing club of grief.
Now more than ever, it seems several are being forced to join the club that no one wants to belong to. It’s happening in our local community, in the state, across our country, and the world. There will be more deaths this year, than ever before in the history of mankind. That leaves a lot of us behind with holes in our lives that can never be filled. Unfortunately, grief is still a topic that so many are uncomfortable preparing for, thinking about, and dealing with- when the time comes. I’m certainly no expert and it would be really sad for someone to be a grief expert, but here are a few things I’ve learned since I’ve been a part of this club:
- Don’t have any expectations for what you may feel, think, or do as a result of your grief. Even when we think we know ourselves and how we would usually react to something, we aren’t ourselves right now. Grief taints every circumstance-especially in the immediate future after a loved one has passed. An unexpected emotion may blindside you and the best thing to do, is to go with the flow and not expect yourself to react like yourself, if that make sense? I’m not only talking about the feelings that come with sadness. Our emotions will “run the gamut” as we venture forward and we will use them to deny, protect, and avoid the real work of grief. This is where grace comes into play. Have grace with yourself and hopefully others will have grace with you as well.
- I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again-we don’t all move through grief at the same pace. Never expect yourself to be “over it” or done with it. Likewise, never expect a grieving person to be at a certain point in their healing, just because time has passed. We all arrive at different times and that’s ok. Along that same note, just because a person seems ok one day, doesn’t mean they are ok the next day. At this point in my grief journey, the days are usually quite normal, but at night–when all is quiet, my thoughts always go to Sarah and I miss her so much, it’s hard to breathe. I do still have days when I need to just sit in my grief and allow myself to feel what I feel.
- People will act awkward around you at first. They won’t quite be sure how you are coping. So, they may avoid mentioning the death of your loved one. So, if you’re feeling up to it, please keep talking about your loved one that has passed. Those who are grieving with you will want to talk about them as well and it really is therapeutic for all of you to remember. Those who aren’t necessarily grieving, will seem uncomfortable at first when you mention your loved ones name, but that’s not because they don’t want to talk about them. It’s because they don’t want to cause you to be sad. Mentioning your loved one first gives them permission to talk about them to you.
- I’ve briefly mentioned this in some of my other posts. Grieving can sometimes physically hurt. So, please do what you can to relax and destress your body. You will feel like you’ve been ran over by a truck at times, but if you can-stretch, go for a walk and just be outside for a bit. Eat well, stay hydrated and allow yourself to nap, if your sleep schedule is off. My sleeping pattern is so different, since Sarah has passed. I find myself still waking up early and because of that, sometimes I go to bed much earlier now. If I wake up in the middle of the night, sometimes I just go ahead and get up. I usually spend that quiet time reading, listening to worship music, and just visiting with God. I’ve had some very precious times in the early morning with The Lord. He is very near to the broken hearted and I know that strength comes from Him when we admit our weakness to Him.
- When you’re ready, you may want to find a creative outlet for your grief. Do something to honor your loved one. You don’t have to be the best artist, singer, writer, etc. Maybe it’s as simple as finding a favorite photograph and doing something special with it to make a keepsake. Many people have found comfort in making pillows, quilts or other memorabilia out of their person’s clothing items. Maybe writing a letter or keeping a journal would be helpful for you. It doesn’t have to be for anyone else’s eyes but your own. It will help you process what you’re feeling and express it in a tangible way though and there is comfort in that.
These are just a few of things that come to my mind today about being in the grief club. Please know there are many things that will change, but it may surprise you to know that some things may change even for the better. People in the grief club don’t seem to take the same things for granted any longer. The terrible thing is that we have to sometimes join the club before we realize what it means to truly value life and all that goes with it. Hopefully, even in the midst of your grief you will know that you are never alone. Scripture tells us that God is near to the broken hearted (Psalms 34:18) and He cares deeply when our loved ones die.(Psalms 116:15) I pray that you will feel the nearness of God and that you’ll also stay connected to the other members of the grief club through blogs and FB pages like Grace In Grieving or other types of support groups. Grieving people are really good listeners and we can relate to one another in our loss. It has helped me so much to read all the responses and comments to my blog posts. Here’s the thing about grief-sooner or later, everyone becomes a member. None of us are exempt from loss. When it happens, I hope you will find grace in your grieving.
This is the song that we closed Sarah’s Celebration of Life with. Maybe it will bring some comfort to someone who’s new to our club. I’m just going to leave it right here…