For weeks I have been in deep concerns and thoughts about our nation and our world. Amid transitions from normality as we knew it, we are shifting paradigms either willfully or in some cases unwilful. When it comes to grief and loss, how does one prepare for it? Even if our loved ones have had an extended illness, can we really prepare for their departure? I do not profess to have all the answers, but I do know that there is someone greater than us who does. He is our Creator.
The Psalmist David said in Psalm 27:13-14, “I had fainted unless I had believed to see the goodness of Jehovah in the land of the living. Wait for Jehovah: Be strong, and let thy heart take courage; Yea, wait thou for Jehovah.” Often when we feel overwhelmed with sorrow and grief, we have to remember the words of the Psalmist. Is God saying we have to be strong in the midst of loss and pain? I believe we can find comfort and strength from God’s presence and His words. In the time of loss, we can feel like we are going crazy and that is okay. That is part of the grief process. I have lived it when I was not sure I would make it out of it.
Along with countless others, my heart grieves with our people and our world. In this blog, I dedicate this entry to those that have been touched by loss or grief in some way. It is important that we all be sensitive to those that have experienced loss. We cannot say that we understand their grief because truthfully, we do not. Several individuals could have experienced the same loss in the same family, but everyone still does not have the same grief necessarily. The departed individual can mean something different for each person. This is not to minimize any other person’s grief. Another thing to consider, is that no one can put a time on how long a person should grieve. We are to weep with those that weep (Romans 12:15). When you are consoling the bereaved, sometimes words are not necessary, but kindness and concern will often speak louder than words. We do not always know what to say. Withholding nothing, we can be amazingly effective praying for the bereaved and believing that healing will come in time without putting a time limit on it.
As I sit here thinking of at least seven cases that I know personally that have experienced loss just in the recent weeks, I am pondering what can I do to help them in their time of sorrow. Prayer is always an option. Faith has helped many experience healings. I am one of those survivors that has experience healing over time. In 1995 I experienced grief in a way I never knew. My mother departed suddenly from us. Then the following months in 1996, I lost my father and brother, respectively. Prior to the recent losses at the time, I had lost my youngest and eldest brother in 1982 and 1985. My eldest brother was like a dad to me and we would talk every Saturday to review Sunday School notes together. They all came unexpectedly for me and I thought I was going to lose it after waking up the next morning knowing that it was not a bad dream, my mom had actually departed. I was still following daily routines, but it was not until I literally lost focus on where I was while driving to visit a client. I called back to the office and asked a co-worker to check my rolodex to see where my next appointment was. I then realized I needed support to go through this ordeal. I had experienced grief before, but the death of my mom was different than all the rest. It seemed to have awakened grief on another level. I had tried getting through it independently on my own. I am grateful that at that time I had support from my husband, my pastor, my church family, and others who prayed for me and spoke encouraging words to me. Spiritual counseling was so effective in my healing process. I did not have to act as I was so strong and had it all together. I found that talking about them in my own time and talking about what I was experiencing at the time was helpful to me. After that experience I became so much more sensitive to the bereaved. I remember my pastor and I conducting grief support groups that was designed for the bereaved to hear other persons experience and find support in the process of their own grief. Fast-forward twenty-five years, there is not a day that goes by I don’t think of my mom and misses her. I am thankful for the memories and the life she shared with me. She shaped in ways that will live as long as I live. I think of my other loved ones who has graduated from this life. The void is there but the healing is a journey that my heavenly father has navigated me through. Some days are as if it was just yesterday and I question where has the time gone? Other days I experience laughter and joy reminiscing on our times of fun and delight. Time does bring about healing. In His time God make all things good. (Ecclesiastes 3:11)
May you find comfort in the following:
The Mourner’s Bill of Rights
by Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D.
- You have the right to experience your own unique grief.
- You have the right to talk about your grief.
- You have the right to feel a multitude of emotions.
- You have the right to be tolerant of your physical and emotional limits.
- You have the right to experience “grief bursts.”
- You have the right to make use of ritual.(ex Cynthia’s example is prayer)
- You have the right to embrace your spirituality.
- You have the right to search for meaning.
- You have the right to treasure your memories.
- You have the right to move toward your grief and heal.
PE BV 2215 | 10.15
© 2007–2013, Center for Loss and Life Transition
(Retrieved from website Hospice of the Valley Family & Caregiver Bereavement on August 10, 2020)