Stages of Grief
Experts tell us there are five to twelve stages of grief we may experience from the loss of a loved one. I suppose, depending on how that loss occurred, whether sudden or anticipated, one could possibly go through twelve stages of grief. I have experienced both types of losses and I can tell you two things about grief. The first thing is grief is real and must be embraced and the second thing is there is no set formula one can follow to make them feel normal again, nor take away the pain. It takes time and time in itself will not heal the heart, but, it provides the space needed to draw out of our souls the hurt, anger, fear and loneliness and exchange them for peace, comfort, joy and thankfulness.
Time for Grief
Time. It takes time, but, unfortunately time marches on demanding we follow along to the beat of its busy agenda. We can’t stop it and we can’t bank it to open up later and use it as needed. So often we fall victim to this pace. If we aren’t careful, we shove our grief deep into our souls by pretending everything is okay. So what’s wrong with this? Don’t deceive yourself, it will come around again and it won’t be any easier to deal with. So how do we began the grieving process? Because there is no one formula or process that fits all, it’s not easy to tell someone how they should grieve. However, I’ve listed below some truths I have found while struggling through my own grief that may be helpful.
Truths To Help You Through
First, realize you are normal and grief is a normal part of life. It’s not pleasant or invited, but it is a fact and it is necessary to continue to thrive. The greatest enemy of grief is isolation. So as awkward as you may feel, do not isolate yourself. God designed us to need others and right now, more than ever, you need others. People don’t always know what to say during this time, and friends can become overwhelmed if we are continually talking to them about our loss. We all mean well, but, we mostly want to make people feel good and when that fails, we become distant from them. It’s ok to seek professional help and support groups.
Second, understand there are two things in life we cannot control. The first is we didn’t ask to be born and the second is we can’t choose when we will depart from this earth. Dying is as much of the normal process of life as living is. Embracing this truth may help you to let go of the guilt feelings you may experience. No need for them and we were never met to carry them. Loss never comes at a convenient time. There’s no way to change this, so let go of unreal expectations and accept that which interrupts our agenda and trust the sovereignty of God.
Third, let the tears flow. Remember the Bible tells us in John 11:35, Jesus Wept. Although, we aren’t told the reason Jesus wept, I believe He was weeping with us. Jesus knew he was going to raise Lazarus from death, although it would be a temporary raising because it was here on earth, it was His plan from the beginning. He was temporarily giving him back to his family while building their faith. Those around, who were mourning upon Jesus arrival, didn’t know this was His plan. I believe Jesus mourned with them because He knew we would all suffer temporarily with loss and a temporary separation from our loved ones. He knew it wouldn’t be easy and He also knew not everyone would believe in Him. Lazarus’ resurrection was a temporary earthly one, but those who have gone on before us in Christ, are raised for eternity. They are with Jesus. Jesus knows and cares about those who are left behind to go on without their loved ones and He will draw near to you, if you will draw near to Him. He gives peace that can’t be explained and He renews us and gives hope and strength that we may carry on. Jesus will help the broken hearted, but if we choose to remain angry, it will quench the work of the Holy Spirit and delay our healing. Psalm 34:18 Psalm 147:3 John 14:27
Next, allow yourself some grace. Give some room for anger and frustration. There will be moments when things come around and maybe they wouldn’t have if you loved one was here. You may find yourself being angry for no other reason than the fact they are gone. It’s normal to feel angry toward them for leaving you with things to take care of. We aren’t perfect and neither is life. They weren’t perfect either. They were loved and honored maybe, but not perfect. God is big enough to handle your angry moments. Give it over to Him and allow Him to give you His grace to deal with them They are just moments, remember this and do not harbor your anger.
Finally, life will not stop for grief. It’s unfortunate, but a reality. God will place people in your life to help with the many daily task if you let Him. Don’t ignore all those who offer help. They may not be able to take away your sadness or tears, but, they can help to lighten your daily burden by helping with the workload so you aren’t overwhelmed among everything else that needs attention. Also if you don’t let others help, you may be robbing them of a blessing by not allowing them to use their gifts and talents to please God. One of God’s promises is that He will never leave us. He helps us through others and His help comes in many ways. It may be practical at times and it may be spiritual at times. Isaiah 41:0 Joshua 1:5 Matthew 28:20 John 14:18
Allow yourself to be encouraged and don’t be afraid to laugh again. There will come a time when you will be able to experience joy with a smile on your face. You will also find yourself thanking God for the precious time you had with you loved one instead of feeling nothing but sadness when you remember them. You will realize and be grateful for the person you are today because of who they were and the impact they had on your life. This is the thing you will embrace and the sweet memories that are yours no one can take from you. God places people in our lives to grow and mature us for His purpose and plan. His work will carry on through you and all that remain and we can rejoice in knowing we will be reunited one day with God and our loved ones. I am praying for you! God bless.